November 22, 2011
Cranium Shows Human Aggression Existed 126,000 Years Ago
A new study has found evidence that interhuman aggression and human induced trauma occurred as far back as 126,000 years ago.
The report suggests that a half-inch ridged, healed lesion with bone depression inward to the brain resulted from localized blunt force trauma due to an accident or interhuman aggression.
"This wound is very similar to what is observed today when someone is struck forcibly with a heavy blunt object," Lynne Schepartz from the School of Anatomical Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand, one of the co-authors of the study, said in a press release.
He said that this wound could be the oldest example of interhuman aggression and human induced trauma documented.
"It's remodeled, healed condition also indicates the survival of a serious brain injury, a circumstance that is increasingly documented for archaic and modern Homo through the Pleistocene."
He said this discovery helps identify and understand some of the earliest forms of interhuman aggression, and the abilities of Pleistocene humans to survive serious injury and post-traumatic disabilities.
"(The human) would have needed social support and help in terms of care and feeding to recover from this wound," He said in a press release.
The cranium was discovered with the remains of other mammals in June 1959 in a cave at Lion Rock in Guangdong province, China.
The cranium and associated animals bones were found about 3-feet deep by farmers who removed cave sediments for fertilizer.
The fossil was analyzed visually using stereomicroscopy and a high-resolution industrial CT scanner.
The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America on Monday.
Image 1: This is the right superolateral view of the Maba cranium showing the position (A) and detail (B) of the depressed lesion. Credit: University of the Witwatersrand
Image 2: These are CT reconstructions depicting the lesion on the Maba cranium. Credit: University of the Witwatersrand
Image 3: This is the reconstructed Maba 1 cranium (A) Right lateral view (B) anterior view (C) left lateral view (D) posterior view (E) superior view (F) basal view Credit: University of the Witwatersrand
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