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Ancient skull discovery pushes back clock on early human migration

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CHICAGO — An ancient skull discovered in a cave in Laos has pushed back the clock on human migration to Southeast Asia by as much as 20,000 years, a study published Monday has found.

The skull discovered in the Annamite Mountains in northern Laos is the oldest modern human fossil found in Southeast Asia and is believed to be between 46,000 and 63,000 years old.

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The find also reveals that early humans did not simply follow the Asian coast as they migrated from Africa to Australia, as some researchers have argued, but that some also moved inland into unfamiliar terrain.

“This fossil find indicates that the migration out of Africa and into East and Southeast Asia occurred at a relatively rapid rate, and that, once there, modern humans weren’t limited to environments that they had previously experienced,” said co-author Laura Shackelford, an anthropologist with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

While some human remains of about that age have been found China and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, none have shown definitively modern human features or been as well dated as the Laos skull.

The discovery also reinforces genetic studies which indicate modern humans were living in the region at least 60,000 years ago.

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“Given its age, fossils in this vicinity could be direct ancestors of the first migrants to Australia,” Shackelford said in a press release.

“But it is also likely that mainland Southeast Asia was a crossroads leading to multiple migratory paths.”

Since no other artifacts were found in the cave, researchers believe it was not a dwelling or burial site. Since the soil it was found in is was dated at between 46,000 and 51,000 years ago researchers believe the body was washed into the cave after the person died nearby.

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The skull was discovered more than two meters (8.2 feet) below the surface of the cave in 2009. A team of researchers used multiple methods to determine its age.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

[Caveman via Shutterstock]

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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White House spokesperson ridiculed for ‘pathetic’ spin on Trump’s trade war admission: ‘Does she think we believe that?’

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Hours after Donald Trump blithely admitted that he had "second thoughts" about his trade war with China that has damaged the U.S. economy and helped set the stage for a possible recession, White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham was forced to issue a clarification about the president's comments.

Addressing Trump's G7 response about his tariffs, widely interpreted by the press as expressing some regret, Grisham issued a statement saying the president meant that he wished he had increased his market-destroying tariffs even more.

"The President was asked if he had ‘any second thought on escalating the trade war with China,'" White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham relayed. "His answer has been greatly misinterpreted. President Trump responded in the affirmative - because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher."

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Here is why Trump is obsessed with Greenland

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They say that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. Remember that President Harry Truman tried to purchase Greenland in 1946; now, in 2019, President Donald Trump is trying to do the same thing.

This article first appeared in Salon.

To be clear, Trump’s farcical, “absurd” idea — to borrow the adjective used by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen — is not happening, and was never going to happen. As Frederiksen pointed out, Greenland is “not for sale." Trump, for his part, has not backed down from the idea.

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2020 Election

Iowa’s Steve King facing ouster because his campaign is broke and his allies have fled: report

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Iowa Republican Steve King is facing losing his seat representing his district in the U.S. House of Representatives as his campaign finds itself broke and the Republican Party has turned its back on him after his latest round of controversial comments.

According to a report from the Daily Beast, his campaign is struggling to bring donors -- who once wholeheartedly supported him --back into the fold.

Even worse, his colleagues in Congress have also abandoned him.

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