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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Human Skull Confuses Scientists 1.8 Million Years Old




Artwork and Music Played by Dr. Murad Abel
Variations of five 1.8 million-year-old sculls found in Dmanisi, Georgia indicate that there may not have been multiple forms of humans before the modern era. This flies in the face of other researchers who believe that there are other members of the hominid family such as homo erectus, homo habilis, and homo rudolfensis.  What makes the finding unique is that all five were found together with distinct variations that fit within other species.

The findings of the skull are new but the town of Damanisi was already discovered as an ancient site that contained bones and extinct species. There have been numerous archeological works in the area to uncover its history which dates back to the beginnings of European civilization. History seems to come together in this location from many hundreds of generations.

One of the skulls is of particular importance as its jaw was found in 2000 and was larger than those found in other discoveries. In 2005, the rest of the skull was found and it contained an elongated structure with a very small brain area that equates to about half the size of modern humans. Even though it is different, it is seen as a variation of the same species. No one is sure and scientists are pointing fingers.

The skulls were preserved under an ancient fortress. Some believe that the species existed at a time when humans were just gaining longer legs and able to walk completely upright. The body would have been less than five feet with smaller hips and elongated teeth for eating.  They may have died in a fight with each other or with some type of animal.

Dmanisi has a long history and first mentioned by 9th century Arabs as part of the Emirate of Tbilisi. They are believed to have inhabited the area since 645. It grew into a silk trading route between Europe and the Middle East. The site also hosts a 6th century church called Dmansis Sioni which is a modern day pilgrimage site.  You may want to view the history of the area and the skulls below:

Lordkipanidze, et. al. (2013). A complete skull from Damanisi, Georgia, and the evolutionary biology of early Homo. Science, 342 (6156)
 

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