The Japan Times
January 11, 2001

Mungo's Finder Doubts Age Test

SYDNEY (Reuters) Modern humankind's evolutionary plot thickened Wednesday when the man who discovered an Australian fossil whose DNA may rewrite human history said the skeleton was not as old as claimed.

But geologist Jim Bowler, who discovered the "Mungo Man" fossil in a dry lake bed in New South Wales state in 1974, did not challenge the theory that his fossil's DNA proved modern man did not evolve from African ancestors alone.

Australian National University (ANU) scientists said Tuesday that tests on mitochondrial DNA taken from bone chips from Mungo Man suggested he was around 62,000 years old.

Bowler said their estimate was out by about 20,000 years.

Bowler said the ANU team missed important geological fieldwork on the skeleton's relationship with its surroundings and the layers above and below the skeleton, which fixed Mungo Man's age at between 40,000 and 45,000 years.