The very ancient mariners: Early human ancestors were more advanced than first thought and sailed the high seas

Early man is normally portrayed as a grunting cave-dweller of little intelligence and limited horizons.

But new research suggests that our ancestors may have been smarter than we give them credit for.

Archeologists now believe that man was crossing the Mediterranean Sea from northern Africa at least 130,000 years ago – more than 100,000 years earlier than previously thought.

The re-think comes after a number of ancient tools found on the island of Crete were accurately dated – and found to have been made by our early ancestors, Homo Erectus.

Until now, the oldest known human settlements on Crete dated to around 9,000 years ago.

Traditional theories hold that early farming groups in southern Europe and the Middle East only began navigating vessels to Mediterranean islands at around that time.

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