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Credit: Paul Jones. Some of the artefacts from the Guanyindong Cave site in China showing signs of Levallois tool-making techniques. Credit: University of Wollongong. The Guanyindong Cave site in southwest China.
Credit: Jia-Fu Zhang. Map showing the location of the Guanyindong Cave site in China. The map shows where Levallois artifacts have been found. The oldest, dating to , years ago, have been found in Europe and Africa.
Scientists Have Found the Oldest Known Human Fossils - The Atlantic
The star on the map marks the site of Guanyindong Cave, where new research published in the journal Nature shows that this technology was used 80, to , years ago in Asia, much earlier than previously thought. Credit: Marwick et al. Explore further. More information: Yue Hu et al. DOI: Provided by University of Wollongong. This document is subject to copyright.
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Effects of a Change of Direction of the Rotation of the Earth?
Best type of map projection for measuring distances? Now, scientists have unearthed a remarkable trove of fossils that appear to date from the very day of the impact. The burial site consists of more than four feet of sediments and organic remains that were dumped in North Dakota almost instantly and transformed into rock over the eons.
It evidently captures, in unparalleled detail, the repercussions of the giant doomsday rock that cleared the way for the evolution of mammals , including the primates known as humans. In an article made available to reporters Friday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a leading science journal, an international team of 12 scientists described a dig near Bowman, N.
Within hours and perhaps minutes of the titanic collision, sea creatures were swept inland by tsunamis and earthquakes, tossed together and deposited with a diverse array of landlocked life, including trees, flowers and vanished types of freshwater fish. The jumble was swiftly entombed, and exquisitely preserved. Permeating the deposit were tiny spheres of clay and glass, known as tektites, which formed as molten rock, ejected by the impact, showered from the sky.
The lead researcher, Robert A. Thirty-seven years old, he was granted access to the rich fossil bed by a rancher in , then mined it secretly for years. His efforts are detailed in an article in The New Yorker that was posted online on Friday.
Chapter Study Outline
Gradually, Mr. DePalma shared his findings with top scientists, some of whom have now joined him as co-authors. They include Walter Alvarez, a geologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who pioneered the idea decades ago that the dinosaur extinction was the result of such a cosmic impact. Sign up for the Science Times newsletter. The rocks contained a tangle of fossilized trees, branches, fishes and other animals. DePalma in an interview.
But they also did something novel as far as naming a species goes—they linked Homo habilis with the origin of a specific behavior by suggesting that this species was the maker of the simple Oldowan stone tools found previously in the same sedimentary layer. These tools—which are basically simple stone knives—are made when roundish rocks, called hammerstones, are struck against more angular rocks, called cores, to strike off sharp flakes. Later, in , when cut marks were found on animal fossils at Olduvai Gorge, they were presumed to have been created by Homo habilis wielding these stone tools to butcher large animals.
Homo habilis was declared the toolmaker and the meat eater, and, as a result, a core part of the definition of our genus involved these two novel behaviors. T his narrative held for over three decades, through the late s. In , even earlier stone tools—dating to 2. In the same year, a new Homo habilis fossil upper-jaw fragment from the Hadar site in Ethiopia pushed the origin of this species back to 2. Then, in , 2. Even with this new evidence, though, the correlation persisted, and this package of new traits—larger brains, stone toolmaking, and meat eating—still seemed to emerge in our earliest Homo ancestors around 2.
B ut recent finds contradict those links. In , a startling announcement was made: Two bones with stone-tool butchery marks dated to 3. This was also far earlier than the earliest Homo fossils. Did this mean Australopithecus could use, and maybe even make, stone tools? A mong other things, critics noted that no stone tools had been found at Dikika.