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Earliest Human Culture Lasted 20,000 Years Later Than Previously Thought

“Almost everything we know about human origins is extrapolated from discoveries in small parts of eastern and southern Africa,” said Eleanor Scerri, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany. To field the gap in archaeological data, Scerri and research partner Khady Niang, researcher at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop in Senegal, surveyed the banks of major rivers and forest-desert boundary lands throughout Senegal and Gambia. Their efforts turned up several Middle Stone Age sites. “These discoveries demonstrate the importance of investigating the whole of the African continent, if we are to really get a handle on the deep human past,” said Niang. “Prior to our work, the story from the rest of Africa suggested that well before 11 thousand years ago, the last traces of the Middle Stone Age — and the life-ways it reflects — were long gone.”

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