Traces of at least two exoduses of ancient people from Africa found in Israel

(ORDO NEWS) — Israeli anthropologists have found reliable evidence in the Jordan Valley that the first members of the genus Homo left Africa in at least two waves of migration that occurred 1.8 and 1.5 million years ago. This was announced on Wednesday by the press service of the Israeli Bar-Ilan University.

“Tools from the Jordan Valley belong to the early Acheulean culture, while similar tools found in Dmanisi are considered to be a product of the existence of an older Olduvai culture. Our excavations indicate that these tool-making traditions were created by different types of ancient people,” – said Omri Barzilai, a researcher at the Israel Antiquities Authority, quoted by the press service of Bar-Ilan University.

According to current anthropologists, our distant ancestors first left Africa about 2 million years ago, after the appearance of the first consistent representatives of the genus Homo, Homo erectus. This is evidenced by the discovery of their remains aged 1.8 million years in the vicinity of the Georgian city of Dmanisi, as well as in some other regions.

As Barzilai points out, scientists have recently discovered significant differences in the anatomy and protein composition of the bones in the “Dmanisian man” and some other European and Asian representatives of Homo erectus. These discrepancies lead anthropologists to debate whether the first humans left Africa in one or more waves of migration and whether they were members of the same species.

The earliest inhabitants of Israel

Barzilai and his colleagues discovered the first unequivocal evidence of the existence of at least two exoduses of the first representatives of the Homo genus from Africa during excavations in the territory of El Ubaidiya, an ancient people’s site located in the Jordan Valley. It was discovered in the middle of the last century by Israeli anthropologists and was studied in detail in the 1960s and 1970s.

Three years ago, scientists began to re-examine all the finds made by their predecessors in El Ubaidiya in the last century, and also studied in detail the very site of ancient people to clarify its dating and search for potentially undiscovered traces of the first Homo. This helped anthropologists locate a well-preserved Homo erectus vertebra, thought to have belonged to a 12-year-old boy who was about 155 cm tall at the time of his death.

The discovery of a fragment of the skeleton allowed scientists to calculate the exact age of the remains of ancient people who lived in El Ubaidiya, as well as clarify their position on the tree of evolution. According to the current estimates of researchers, ancient people appeared in this region of Israel about 1.5 million years ago, which coincides with the past dating of this site.

At the same time, anthropologists found that the most ancient inhabitants of the Middle East differed significantly in the structure of their skeleton from the undersized “Dmanisian people”, as well as from other known remains of upright people. This, according to scientists, speaks in favor of the fact that the first representatives of the genus Homo left Africa during two separate waves of migration.

This, according to Barzilai and his colleagues, is also supported by the fact that the first inhabitants of the Middle East and Georgia used different techniques for making tools and lived in very different climates. The latter, according to anthropologists, potentially suggests that they belonged to different types of ancient people, adapted to life in a dry or humid climate.


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