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Stone-Age tools cast new light on human migration

A Stone-Age archaeological site in the Arabian peninsula has become the focus of a radical theory of how early humans made the long walk from their evolutionary homeland of Africa to become a globally dispersed species.

Scientists have found a set of stone tools buried in the United Arab Emirates that they believe were made about 125,000 years ago by people who had migrated out of eastern Africa. The age of the stone tools suggests that our species, Homo sapiens, left Africa between 30,000 and 55,000 years earlier than previously believed.

Genetic evidence had suggested that modern humans made the main migration from Africa between 60,000 and 70,000 years ago.

However, all these movements were believed to have been made into the Middle East by people walking along the Nile valley and over the Sinai Peninsula.

The stone tools suggest another possible migratory route across the Bab al-Mandeb strait.

Simon Armitage,the lead author of the study published in the journal 'Science', said: "Archaeology without ages is like a jigsaw with the interlocking edges removed -- you have lots of individual pieces of information but you can't fit them together to produce the big picture," he said

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