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Archaeology

Ancient Teeth May 'Change Whole Picture of Evolution'

Israel Ancient Teeth

Professor Avi Gopher from the Institute of Archeology of Tel Aviv University holds an ancient tooth that was found at an archeological site near Rosh Haain, central Israel, Monday, Dec. 27, 2010. Israeli archaeologists say they may have found the earliest evidence yet for the existence of modern man. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Israeli archaeologists say they may have found the earliest evidence yet for the existence of modern man.

A Tel Aviv University team excavating a cave in central Israel said Monday they found teeth about 400,000 years old. The earliest Homo sapiens remains found until now are half that old.

Archaeologist Avi Gopher said Monday further research is needed to solidify the claim. If it does, he says, "this changes the whole picture of evolution."

Accepted scientific theory is that Homo sapiens originated in Africa and migrated out.

Sir Paul Mellars, a prehistory expert at Cambridge University, says the find is "important," but it is premature to say the remains are from modern man. He says they are more likely related to man's ancient relatives, the Neanderthals.