The Oldest Evidence of Out-of-Africa Human Seen in China

An excavation in China found 2.1 million years of stone tools. This discovery offers evidence for the oldest species of hominid dated outside Africa.

In the archaeological site in China, stone tools dating to 2.12 million years ago were found. C: Zhu et al. / Nature 2018

There is a need for definitive evidence to acknowledge the presence of this strand in order to detect a first known emergence. These evidences must be supported by the ages of the geological materials containing the finds. The remains of species are found in fossil deposits that are common in the regions where they live. On the contrary, the populations of ancient hominins are likely to be scarce, and fossilized remains are rarely encountered. A single fingertip can be enough to prove the existence of a hominin. But since the hominins began to form stone tools from about 3.3 million years ago, consciously carved pebbles can prove the existence of a hominin.

The hominins in Africa, which can have a root up to 6 million years ago, include all humanoids separated from chimpanzee, Homo . Scientists have discovered fossils and artifacts that date to 1.5 million to 1.7 million years ago in various places outside Africa. To this day, the earliest evidence of hominis outside of Africa contains a skeleton and works dating back to 1.85 million years and associated with Homo erectus . These finds were unearthed in the Dmani site of Georgia in 2000.

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In this new study, the researchers unearthed 2.12 million years ago stone tools that could have been made by our human ancestors from the excavations they carried out in China. This discovery offers evidence of the earliest turn around of human souls outside Africa.

A group of researchers, including archaeologists and geologists from China and the United Kingdom, examined and date a series of ancient soils and bedrocks to reveal stone tools made in dozens of simple levels. This research was conducted under the leadership of Zhaoyu Zhu from China Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou Geochemistry Institute. The earliest turning tools are 1.26 million years old and the earliest tools are 2.12 million years old.

However, even the 2.12 million-year-old geologic layers may not show the earliest hominin presence in the region. John Kappelman, an anthropologist and geologist at the University of Texas at Austin and a scientific review of the published article, says that the deepest and oldest layers in the site are inaccessible due to active farming practices in the region and that research must be a top priority.

A world map of hominin traces discovered to date. The blue spots indicate that hominin stone tools are in the indicated areas and hominin fossils are in the red spots. C: Nature

Polarization Motif

The age of these strata was determined by the method called paleomagnetism, which uses documented change mobility in Earth's magnetic field to date rocks. The motions of geomagnetic change, which took place 1.26 million to 2.12 million years ago, were recorded in magnetic minerals trapped within these sediments.

Jan-Pieter Buylaert, a geologist at the University of Aarhus in Denmark, who works on sediments in this part of China, says that this dating method is very reliable and robust.

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At the same time, archaeologists are confident that these tools are real. Robin Dennel, an archaeologist and co-leader of the study at Exeter University, says many natural processes do not add up as a cause for the team to look like stones, like a river rush. In the Shangchen site, there are no known ancient rivers and these tools consist only of the stones found there.

Confidential Identity

The identities of those who make these tools are unknown at this time. No hominin bone was found in Shangchen. "We all want to find a homosexual - especially one with stone tools," says Dennel. Homo erectus , a possibility for this, because one of the earliest members of this crew was found in Dmanisi. But Dennel thinks that tool makers in Shangchen belong to an older species, Homo .

Other archaeologists believe that because of the age of the instruments found, the unknown tool maker may be a species like Homo habilis . Of course, this is true if the hominins do not mention the possibility that they arrived in China less than 2.12 million years ago. Homo habilis , a relatively small-minded hominin species, is thought to be limited to 2.4 to 1.4 million years ago in Africa.

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Willam Jungers, a paleoanthropologist at Stony Brook University in New York, is suggesting that the instrument maker may be an Australopithecus species. All the fossils so far are a group of ape-like hominins, including the famous Australopithecus genus, the famous Lucy, discovered in Africa .

New finds indicate that hominins have spread to very large distances before 2 million years. Shangchen is 14,000 kilometers from the nearest site in Africa where other hominins are found. An evolutionary anthropologist from Harvard University Vivek Venkataraman says that it is possible that the hunter-gatherers of Shangchen instrument makers simply follow their food.

Kappelman, another researcher of Shangchen discoveries, says that 2 million years ago, the hominins were quite encouraging to look for traces that they had lived in Eurasia.

Source: archaeology
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