Oldest Human Fossil Found Outside Africa

A human fossil found in Isreal in 2002 now shows that humans may have left Africa up to 100,000 years earlier than originally thought. Researchers spent one and a half decades studying an upper jawbone and stone tools found in a cave in Isreal.

The jawbone was found with teeth that were thought to be between 170 000 and 190 000 years old.  CT scans helped to build a 3D model, which researchers then compared with other fossils from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The tools found nearby suggest that prehistoric people were busy making various objects that they used for hunting animals and gathering.  While some scientists say that the tools could only have been made by homo sapiens, modern people, others do not ignore the fact that Neanderthals could also have made them.

Up to now, the oldest fossils found outside Africa were also located in Israel. According to archaeologists, they were no more than 90,000 to 120,000 years old.

The new discovery also sets back the date at which homo sapiens appeared in Africa. While the current theory says that they originated in Africa 200,000 years ago, we now may believe that they actually showed up between 300,000 and 500,000 years ago. If that is true, then they probably left Africa on short trips to other continents as early as 200,000 years ago.


Skull of a Homo Sapiens
Skull of a Homo Sapiens – Image: Dr. Günter Bechly


  • according to = as said by …
  • appear = show up; start to exist
  • archaeologist = a person who studies ancient civilisations by looking at what is left of buildings, tools etc..
  • cave = a large natural hole in the side of a hill or mountain
  • compare = to look at two or more things and find out the differences between them
  • CT scan = an  examination in which the inside of an object  is produced on a computer using x-rays
  • current = now
  • decade = ten years
  • discovery = finding something for the first time
  • fossil = an animal or plant that lived many thousands of years ago and that has been preserved in rock
  • gathering = to look for plants to eat
  • homo sapiens = modern man; the type of human that exists now
  • humans = people
  • ignore = pay no attention to …
  • jawbone = one of the bones that are in your teeth
  • located = found
  • Neanderthal = early type of human being who lived in Europe during the Stone Age
  • originally = at first
  • originate = come from
  • prehistoric people = people who lived a long time ago, before anything was written down
  • researcher = someone who studies a subject in detail in order to find out more about it
  • scientist = a person who is trained in science and works in a lab
  • skull = the bones of a person’s head
  • stone tools = early tools that the first people made out of stone; they were used for hunting, gathering food and making fire
  • suggest = to say that something may be true
  • various = different kinds of …



Iran Bans English From Primary Schools

Iran’s government has banned English from primary school classrooms in an attempt to fight Western influences. The country has been blaming the West for protests and demonstrations that have been staged throughout the country in the past months.

Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, has repeatedly blamed the spread of English in schools for destabilizing his country. Authorities say that teaching English at an early age makes it possible for pupils to adopt the culture of Western societies. They state that primary education is the basis of Iranian culture and should be free of Western values.

English language lessons generally start in middle schools, with students aged between 12 and 14. Recently, however, more and more primary schools have been offering English lessons. It has also spread to some of the country’s nursery schools too.

The new ban only applies to the first years of education, where all lessons will be in Persian, the country’s official language.


Primary school class in Tehran
Primary school class in Tehran – Image: Farzad Khorasani


  • adopt = here: to use; take on; let something into your country
  • apply = here: where the ban is in effect
  • attempt = try to do something
  • authorities = government organisations that have the power to decide things
  • ban = forbid; not allow
  • blame = to say or think that you are responsible for something bad that has happened
  • destabilize = when a government has problems controlling events that happen there
  • generally = normally
  • government = the people who rule a country
  • influence = power to affect the way something changes or develops
  • nursery school = kindergarten; school for children between 3 and 5 or 6
  • official language = the language that all the people in a country speak
  • primary school = the first years of education; usually between 5 and 11
  • recently = a short time ago
  • repeatedly = over and over again
  • society = the way people live in a country
  • spread = when something moves from one place to another
  • stage = organize
  • supreme = highest
  • throughout = all across the country
  • values = the things you believe in

Saudi Arabia Lifts Ban on Women Driving

The Saudi Arabian government has announced that  the country  will start allowing women to drive cars. The new law will be in effect starting in June 2018. At the moment, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that does not let women drive a car.  The driving ban has become a symbol of oppression in the kingdom.

In the past Saudi women have had to organize drivers to take them to places in everyday life. If caught  driving they risked  being arrested and were sometimes even punished. Women were not even allowed to have  a driving licence.

Countries around the world welcomed the step taken by Saudi king Salman ibn Abd al-Aziz. Many human rights groups have been fighting for women’s rights , including the right to drive, for years.

In the last few years, the Middle Eastern kingdom has been slowly granting women more rights in an attempt to open up to Western society. In 2015 , women, for the first time were allowed to vote and be candidates in local elections. Recently, the government announced that girls would be allowed to do sports and  take part in physical education lessons in school.

Still, Saudi Arabian society is deeply conservative. Women still need a man’s permission  to do certain  things, including  marrying or going abroad. Those who oppose the new law say that it would violate the sharia.

Saudi leaders hope that lifting the driving ban will let women take on a more more active role  in the country’s booming economy.



  • announce = to say something officially, in public
  • arrest = to take a person to the police station because they have done something wrong
  • attempt = try
  • ban = to forbid something
  • booming = when the economy increases and businesses are very successful
  • deeply = very much
  • driving licence = document that says you have the right to drive
  • government = the people who rule a country
  • grant = give, award
  • human rights group = group of people who want everyone to have basic rights, like the right to vote or the right to speak freely
  • including = also
  • in effect = here: to start being a law
  • kingdom = country ruled by a king or queen
  • lift = remove
  • local election = when you choose a person to have an official job in a city or town
  • oppose = to be against something
  • oppression =  to treat someone or a group of people in a bad way  and not let them have the same rights as others
  • permission = to be officially allowed to do something
  • physical education = sports taught in school as a subject
  • sharia = a system of religious laws followed by Muslims
  • violate= here: to break the law
  • vote = to choose someone for an official position
  • welcome = to be glad that something has happened