Dozens of fossil human teeth from a cave in China show that people lived in southern Asia more than 80,000 years ago, researchers report.
Before this, the earliest well-dated fossils firmly linked to our species in southern Asia were only around 45,000 years old.
Our species, Homo sapiens, is thought to have appeared in Africa around 200,000 years ago and later spread to other continents. The details of that dispersal are still murky. The discovery in China's Hunan province argues against a theory that the first wave reached southern Asia only about 60,000 years ago.