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30-May-2016 07:57

But even then the researchers themselves questioned the accuracy of the dating technique.

The new findings, published in the February 17 issue of the journal Nature, establish Omo I and II as the oldest known fossils of modern humans.

Evidence of culture is not extensively documented in the archaeological record until around 50,000 years ago.

The wider gap could add fuel to a long-term debate swirling around when modern human behavior, as opposed to modern human anatomy, emerged.

"Those who believe that there is widely scattered evidence of 'modern' behavior going back 200,000 years in Africa will be delighted that modern human anatomy also goes back that far," said John Fleagle, a physical anthropologist at Stony Brook University in New York and one of the co-authors of the study.

The 195,000-year-old date coincides with findings from genetic studies on modern human populations.

Such studies can be extrapolated to determine when the earliest modern humans lived.

Human fossils found 38 years ago in Africa are 65,000 years older than previously thought, a new study says—pushing the dawn of "modern" humans back 35,000 years.

The two skulls and some bones were first uncovered on opposite sides of Ethiopia's Omo River in 1967 by a team led by Richard Leakey.The fossils, dubbed Omo I and Omo II, were dated at the time as being about 130,000 years old.