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Whole of Africa was cradle of humankind: Study

Press Trust of India  |  London 

The whole of may have been the of humankind, according to a study which questions the long-held theory that humanity emerged in East

Scientists from the Centro Nacional de Investigacion (CENIEH) in analysed archaeological remains found at sites in the region of (Algeria), the oldest currently known in the north of

For a long time, has been considered the place of origin of the earliest hominins and lithic technology, according to the study published in the journal Science.

Up to now, very little was known about the first hominin occupation and activities in the north of the continent.

Scientists led by Mohamed Sahnouni, an at CENIEH, showed that ancestral hominins actually made in that are nearly contemporary with the earliest known in dated to 2.6 million years.

These are stone artifacts and animal bones bearing marks of cutting by stone tools, with an estimated chronology of 2.4 and 1.9 million years, respectively.

The tools were found at two levels at the sites of within the study area.

The sites were dated using paleomagnetism, electron spin resonance (ESR), and the biochronology of large mammals excavated together with the archaeological materials.

Paleontologist Made from the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales in used fossils of animals such as pigs, horses and elephants from very to corroborate the ages yielded via paleomagnetism, which is induced by the Earth's magnetic field.

The artefacts of were manufactured of locally available limestone and flint and include faces worked into choppers, polyhedra and subspheroids, as well as used to process animal carcasses.

These artifacts are typical of the known from 2.6-1.9 million-year-old sites in East Africa, although those from show subtle variations, researchers said.

"The lithic industry of Ain Boucherit, which is technologically similar to that of Gona and Olduvai, shows that our ancestors ventured into all corners of Africa, not just East Africa," said Sahnouni.

"The evidence from changes the earlier view that was the of Humankind. Actually, the whole of Africa was the of humankind," he said.

Ain Boucherit is one of the few archaeological sites in Africa that has preserved evidence of bones with associated marks of cutting and percussion in situ with stone tools, resaerchers said.

This shows that these ancestral hominins ate meat and marrow from animals of all sizes and skeletal parts, implying skinning, evisceration and defleshing of upper and intermediate extremities, they said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, December 03 2018. 12:45 IST