Ancient Human Remains Twice Previous Age

This has been reported on quite abit.  This shows a good picture of one ofthe teeth.  The age claim is certainlypushing the envelope.  Yet this isneeded.  So much theory has been spun outof mere data points, that giving it all a good kick is a very good idea.  The good news is that each year sees moreshovels at work and more sites investigated and expanded.

Rather important in the Middle East were everything had to pass.  The region itself was originally pleasantlyforested and provided plenty of refugia for populations of differentspecies.  It is poorly understood thatthe actual population density on the ground during the Bronze Age was huge ascompared to other similar regions at the time and filled in what are todaybarrens.

Thus a great deal will need to bedone and we all will have to be patient as we slowly figure it all out.

Researchers:Ancient human remains found in Israel
ByDANIEL ESTRIN, Associated Press – Mon Dec 27,6:13 pm ET


Israeli archaeologistssaid Monday they may have found the earliest evidence yet for the existence ofmodern man, and if so, it could upset theories of the origin of humans.

A Tel Aviv University team excavating a cave in central Israel said teeth found in the cave are about400,000 years old and resemble those of other remains of modern man, knownscientifically as Homo sapiens, found in Israel. The earliest Homo sapiensremains found until now are half as old

"It's veryexciting to come to this conclusion," said archaeologist Avi Gopher, whoseteam examined the teeth with X-rays and CT scans and dated them according tothe layers of earth where they were found.

He stressed thatfurther research is needed to solidify the claim. If it does, he says,"this changes the whole picture of evolution."

The acceptedscientific theory is that Homo sapiens originated in Africaand migrated out of the continent. Gopher said if the remains are definitivelylinked to modern human's ancestors, it could mean that modern man in factoriginated in what is now Israel.

Sir Paul Mellars, aprehistory expert at Cambridge University, said thestudy is reputable, and the find is "important" because remains fromthat critical time period are scarce, but it is premature to say the remainsare human.

"Based on theevidence they've cited, it's a very tenuous and frankly rather remotepossibility," Mellars said. He said the remains are more likely related tomodern man's ancient relatives, the Neanderthals.

According to today'saccepted scientific theories, modern humans and Neanderthals stemmed from acommon ancestor who lived in Africa about700,000 years ago. One group of descendants migrated to Europeand developed into Neanderthals, later becoming extinct. Another group stayedin Africa and evolved into Homo sapiens —modern humans.

Teeth are oftenunreliable indicators of origin, and analyses of skull remains would moredefinitively identify the species found in the Israeli cave, Mellars said.

Gopher, the Israeliarchaeologist, said he is confident his team will find skulls and bones as theycontinue their dig.

The prehistoric Qesemcave was discovered in 2000, and excavations began in 2004. Researchers Gopher,Ran Barkai and Israel Hershkowitz published their study in the American Journalof Physical Anthropology.

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