(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists conducted a study, the results of which allowed them to re-estimate the age of the remains of an ancient man from the Omo Kibish formation in southwestern Ethiopia.
It turned out that the fossils are much older than previously thought – they are about 233 thousand years old, and not 197 thousand years old, as previously thought.
At the moment, this is the oldest find of Homo sapiens in the world. In Africa, there are eight places where the remains of anatomically modern humans have been found, which are related in age to the Middle Pleistocene.
Moreover, the age of all the finds was established rather conditionally – in the range from 350 to 130 thousand years ago.
The fact is that this corresponds to most models of human evolution, suggesting that the species Homo sapiens appeared and separated from its closest ancestors approximately 350-200 thousand years ago. However, scientists are constantly looking for ways to more accurately determine the age of the earliest finds.
Omo I fossils were found in the 1960s in the Omo Kibish Formation in southwestern Ethiopia, according to information published in the journal Nature. During the Middle Pleistocene, this region was characterized by volcanic activity.
Thanks to the eruptions, whole clouds of ash were thrown into the atmosphere, which, having settled, formed layers of tuffs, in which the remains of ancient people were found. Initial analyzes were carried out by the argon-argon method.
Their results showed that the fossils are about 197 thousand years old. However, geological evidence indicated that tuff deposits appeared much earlier.
As a result, scientists led by Professor Clive Oppenheimer from the University of Cambridge, having collected four years of data on all volcanic eruptions that occurred in the late Middle Pleistocene in the Ethiopian Rift, as well as paying attention to other factors (the age of volcanoes, geochemical characteristics), were able to accurately date the layers volcanic ash.
Geochemical analysis has shown that the thick layer of volcanic ash that covered the fossil deposits is related to the Shala volcano eruption that occurred 230,000 years ago. Moreover, the deposits themselves are several thousand years older.
Earlier it was reported that archaeologists found ten ancient mounds in the Volgograd region.
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