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Earliest Evidence Of Modern Humans: Artifacts May Date Back 45,000 Years

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Bianca
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« on: January 21, 2009, 10:21:39 am »










                                   Earliest Evidence Of Modern Humans In Europe Discovered:



                                                Artifacts May Date Back 45,000 Years






ScienceDaily
(Jan. 12, 2007)




Modern humans who first arose in Africa had moved into Europe as far back as about 45,000

years ago, according to a new study by an international research team led by the Russian Academy

of Sciences and the University of Colorado at Boulder.



The evidence consists of stone, bone and ivory tools discovered under a layer of ancient volcanic ash on the Don River in Russia some 250 miles south of Moscow, said John Hoffecker, a fellow of CU-Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. Thought to contain the earliest evidence of modern humans in Europe, the site also has yielded perforated shell ornaments and a carved piece of mammoth ivory that appears to be the head of a small human figurine, which may represent the earliest piece of figurative art in the world, he said.

"The big surprise here is the very early presence of modern humans in one of the coldest, driest places in Europe," Hoffecker said. "It is one of the last places we would have expected people from Africa to occupy first."

A paper by Michael Anikovich and Andrei Sinitsyn of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Hoffecker, and 13 other researchers was published in the Jan. 12 issue of Science.

The excavation took place at Kostenki, a group of more than 20 sites along the Don River that have been under study for many decades. Kostenki previously has yielded anatomically modern human bones and artifacts dating between 30,000 and 40,000 years old, including the oldest firmly dated bone and ivory needles with eyelets that indicate the early inhabitants were tailoring animal furs to help them survive the harsh climate.

Most of the stone used for artifact construction was imported from between 60 miles and 100 miles away, while the perforated shell ornaments discovered at the lowest levels of the Kostenki dig were imported from the Black Sea more than 300 miles away, he said. "Although human skeletal remains in the earliest level of the excavation are confined to isolated teeth, which are notoriously difficult to assign to specific human types, the artifacts are unmistakably the work of modern humans," Hoffecker said.

The sediment overlying the artifacts was dated by several methods, including an analysis of an ash layer deposited by a monumental volcanic eruption in present-day Italy about 40,000 years ago, Hoffecker said. The researchers also used optically stimulated luminescence dating -- which helps them determine how long ago materials were last exposed to daylight -- as well as paleomagnetic dating based on known changes in the orientation and intensity of Earth's magnetic field and radiocarbon calibration.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2009, 10:22:29 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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