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Julien Louys

New analysis of fossils found in Indonesia suggests modern humans may have arrived on the island as early as 73,000 years ago and that they were able to develop technologies sooner than previously thought.

What it means: This is the earliest evidence yet of modern humans living in rainforests and supports recent suggestions that they migrated out of Africa earlier than previously thought. It also suggests they were able to colonize inland, where it requires much more planning and technological innovation to grow food and survive the elements, which some researchers thought individuals at the time weren't advanced enough to do.

The team of researchers re-analyzed two human teeth found in a rainforest cave in the late 19th century and concluded they were from anatomically modern humans who had mastered the necessary tools to survive inland. They were able to use surrounding sediment to date the remains to between 73,000 and 63,000 years old.

Credit: Tanya Smith and Rokus Awe DueCaption: Modern human tooth found in Lida Ajer cave (left top) with its corresponding scanned image (left bottom) compared to an orangutan tooth (right).

Go deeper

Biden confronts mounting humanitarian crisis at the border

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Pool/Getty Images     

Just over a month into his presidency, President Biden is staring down a mounting crisis at the border that could be just as bad as the ones faced by Barack Obama and Donald Trump, if not worse.

Why it matters: Immigration is an issue that can consume a presidency. It's intensely and poisonously partisan. It's complicated. And the lives and welfare of vulnerable children hang in the balance.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

The rise of vaccine passports

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Vaccine passports were touted early in the pandemic as an important piece of the plan to get people back to normal life. Now they’re becoming a reality.

Driving the news: CLEAR, the secure digital identity app that you see in airports around the world, and CommonPass, a health app that lets users securely access vaccination records and COVID test results, have joined forces.

"Vaccine tourism" stretches states' supplies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans who are highly motivated to get vaccinated are traveling across state lines after hearing about larger vaccine supplies or loopholes in sign-up systems.

Why it matters: "Vaccine tourism" raises ethical and legal questions, and could worsen the racial socioeconomic and racial inequalities of the pandemic.

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