An international team of paleontologists has discovered the bones of a human jaw in a cave in southwestern Sulawesi, one of Indonesia’s main islands. The earliest indications of human presence on the island during the Pleistocene, the time of major climate change and rapid human dispersal
Jaw bones – complete with teeth – were dated 25,000 to 16,000 years ago, although the team was not able to determine the sex or age of the individual. They had results Published Today PLoS is one.
“This particular person probably came from the modern human population that arrived in Sulawesi by ship thousands of years ago, ”Adam Broome, an archaeologist at the Australian Research Center for Human Evolution at Griffith University in Brisbane, told Gizmodo in an email.
Southeast Asia is proud of a significant archive of hominin remains in its limestone caves. In recent years, the Philippines and the Indonesian islands have organized discoveries Homo fluorescensis And Homo luzonensis, Extinct human relatives for the islands on which they were discovered. In the ancient past, hominins (our own species and others) made their way through the islands of the island, setting up shop in the caves of the region and painting on their walls. Some in the Philippines May have been eaten On the giant, tree-dwelling rat.
The jawbone was found in Leang Bulu Bettue, a cave in Sulawesi’s southwestern region of Maros. The team knew from previous work that the dirt layer the bone came out of was between 25,000 and 16,000 years old, based on several dating methods: isotope analysis of stalagmites exposed during those excavations, radiocarbon dating of shells found in the same layer, laser ablation dating of a pig tooth found there, and optical dating of feldspar rock in the layer. The radiocarbon-dated shell was previously used for the maximum of the layer—about 22,300 years ago—but due to some uncertainty In this study, researchers have traced the isotope dating of stalagmite, which has a wide range of 24,800 to 16,000 years, to the way water can distort results.
Last month, a different team, including Broom Announced Recovery of genetic material from 7,000-year-old skeletons in Sulawesi; There were remains of an 18-year-old woman who died during the Holocene. The recently reported jaw bone predicts that remnant by an era; There was more time between this ancient man and the Holocene woman than between the Holocene woman and us.
The new search pushes back Homo sapiensSulawesi has existed for thousands of years. “Unfortunately, the sample is so incomplete and fragmentary that it can’t tell us much about the person from whom it came – except that this person’s teeth were very bad,” Broom said. They know the person was an adult, due to an exploding third molar, but they can’t go deeper than that.
Broom added, “We want to find more remains of the person who came from this tiny piece.” “They must be buried somewhere, And if we keep digging, Maybe we’ll be lucky to find them one day–Or the remains of other early humans buried in caves. ”
Bram said it is unknown whether our species coexisted or collided with other hominins in Sulawesi, but it was “certainly possible” that different groups interacted with each other. They lived on the same island at the same time. Perhaps future searches will say more That story