Student finds 1.8 million-year-old tooth – one of the oldest signs of human existence outside of Africa

(ORDO NEWS) — Last week, archaeologists found a tooth belonging to an ancient human species believed to be about 1.8 million years old.

The molar was found by a research student at the excavations in Orozmani (Georgia). This is one of the earliest traces of hominins outside of Africa.

The student who found it showed the tooth to the team from the Georgian National Museum, who led the excavations.

“Then we contacted our paleontologist and he confirmed it was a hominin tooth,” Giorgi Kopaliani, an archaeologist at the National Museum of Georgia, told USA TODAY.

Kopaliani and his team started excavations at Orozmani in 2019, but put them on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Work resumed last year. So far, the team has discovered ancient stone tools and fossils of extinct animals such as saber-toothed tigers and Etruscan wolves, Kopaliani said.

The area is located about 15 miles from the world-famous Dmanisi excavation site, where researchers discovered hominin remains, including skulls, that are about 1.8 million years old.

The tooth, discovered last week, joins the remains as one of the oldest evidence of early human species outside of Africa, Kopaliani said.

The team, led by archaeologist Giorgi Bidzinashvili, plans to continue excavations at Orozmani for another week and hopes to expand the team and excavation area in the future.

“Based on this tooth, the information we get from this site and its proximity to the Dmanisi site, we now… can talk about the hominin population in the area,” Kopaliani said. “We still have a lot of work to do. There is still a lot to explore.”

Although the remains found in Georgia are still considered the oldest found outside of Africa, researchers in China have unearthed 2.1 million-year-old stone tools that may indicate an earlier presence of hominins.

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