December 29, 2010
Ancient Human Remains Discovered In Israel
Israeli archaeologists reported on Tuesday that have found teeth of modern humans in a cave in central Israel dating back 400,000 years. That makes them twice as old as modern humans found in Africa, which is where they've been thought to have originated.
Avi Gopher, of Tel Aviv University's Institute of Archaeology, said testing of stalagmites, stalactites and other material found in a cave east of Tel Aviv indicates that eight teeth uncovered there could be the earliest traces so far of our species.
"Our cave was used for a period of about 250,000 years -- from about 400,000 years ago to about 200,000 years ago," Gopher told teh AFP news agency.
"It's very exciting to come to this conclusion."
"The teeth are scattered through the layers of the cave, some in the deeper part, that is to say from 400,000 years and through all kinds of other layers that can be up to 200,000 years. The oldest are 400,000 years old," he added.
He stressed that further research is needed to solidify the claim. If it does, he said, "This changes the whole picture of evolution."
"It is accepted at the moment that the earliest Homo sapiens that we know is in east Africa and is 200,000 years old, or a little less. We don't know of anywhere else where anyone claims to have an earlier Homo sapiens," he said.
Digging continues at the cave.
The archaeologists from Tel Aviv University are confident that other human fossil evidence will be found at the site.
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