Saturday, February 12, 2011

Could these teeth turn "out of Africa" theory upside down?

We live in exciting times, archaeologically, that's for damn sure.  Thank Goddess for the internet - where news like this can now be instantaly published and read by anyone who has an interest.  Here is a new twist on what we thought we thought we knew :)

Ancient teeth raise new questions about the origins of modern man
2 Feb 2011
Binghamton University

BINGHAMTON, NY – Eight small teeth found in a cave near Rosh Haain, central Israel, are raising big questions about the earliest existence of humans and where we may have originated, says Binghamton University anthropologist Rolf Quam. Part of a team of international researchers led by Dr. Israel Hershovitz of Tel Aviv University, Qaum and his colleagues have been examining the dental discovery and recently published their joint findings in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

Excavated at Qesem cave, a pre-historic site that was uncovered in 2000, the size and shape of the teeth are very similar to those of modern man, Homo sapiens, which have been found at other sites is Israel, such as Oafzeh and Skhul - but they're a lot older than any previously discovered remains.

"The Qesem teeth come from a time period between 200,000 - 400,000 years ago when human remains from the Middle East are very scarce," Quam said. "We have numerous remains of Neandertals and Homo sapiens from more recent times, that is around 60,00 - 150,000 years ago, but fossils from earlier time periods are rare. So these teeth are providing us with some new information about who the earlier occupants of this region were as well as their potential evolutionary relationships with the later fossils from this same region."

Rest of article.

Ancient Teeth Found in Israel. Credit: Rolf Quam.
It struck me just now, looking at this photograph of some of the teeth the article speaks to, that they rather resemble man's early attempts to make dice...

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