среда, 25 декабря 2019 г.

New study identifies last known occurrence of Homo erectus

Scientists have identified the last known occurrence of Homo erectus--in Central Java, Indonesia between 117,000 and 108,000 years ago. An ancient ancestor of modern humans that lived in the Pleistocene era, Homo erectus first appeared approximately 2 million years ago.

New study identifies last known occurrence of Homo erectus
These skull caps belonged to the last known members of the Homo erectus species, found in Central Java,
Indonesia [Credit: Russell L. Ciochon & Kiran Patel, University of Iowa]
An international team of researchers including the University of Alberta's John-Paul Zonneveld applied modern dating technology to a group of fossils originally found in the 1930s. The fossils include 12 skull caps and 2 lower leg bones found in a bone bed 20 metres above the Solo River at Ngandong, Central Java, Indonesia.

"Uncertainty of the age of the Ngandong Homo erectus beds has prevented us from accurately assessing the relationship of these early humans to other human species," said Zonneveld, professor in the University of Alberta's Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. "It is also intriguing that these dates indicate that Homo erectus overlapped temporally with one or more other human species."

The fossils are part of a mass death event that occurred as a result of a change in climate. Approximately 130,000 years ago, Indonesia's climate shifted from dry grasslands to tropical rainforest, and the Homo erectus species could not adapt. It is here that they went extinct. According to the study, the bone bed was formed when the remains were washed into the river and deposited downstream.

"This was an exciting project to be involved in. I was honored to be able to contribute to analyses of the fauna associated with Homo erectus at Ngandong," added Zonneveld.

The research paper was published in Nature.

Source: University Of Alberta [December 19, 2019]

* This article was originally published here

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