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50,000 year old Siberian bones may be the ‘oldest Homo sapiens' outside Africa and Middle East

By 0 and 0 and 0
21 May 2018


The older set of bones found on Tuyana site dated to 50,000 years ago. Picture: Vesti.Irkutsk

If the discovery in Buryatia is verified as being Homo sapiens, it will alter scientific thinking about the arrival of man in Siberia. 

The discovery was made in the Tunkinskaya Valley by Irkutsk scientists in 2016.

Older bones date to 50,000 years ago, younger ones at the same site to around 30,000 years ago, and they were found alongside tools and animal bones indicating these ancients were proficient hunters of cave lions, bison, horses and deer. 

Investigated bones

Two fragment of bones found on Area 2 of Tuyana site. Picture: Evgeniy Rogovskoi

Dr Evgeniy Rogovskoi, senior researcher Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said: ‘The bones were found in 2016 during rescue archeological works near the Buryatian village of Tunka. 

‘Work on constructing a new road was about to start, so archeologists rushed here to see if they could take any material from the site. 

‘The bones were found within half a metre of the surface. 

Human bones

Set of bones found on Area 1 and dated to 30,000 years old. Picture: Evgeniy Rogovskoi

‘We have introduced them to the scientific community only now, two years after the find, because we have been waiting for test results on them. 

‘There were two set of bones, one was dated as 27,000 to 30,000 years old, the other as 50,000 years old.’

The younger bones are ‘modern-type’ humans. 

Tuyana excavations site

Excavations site

Excavations site

‘Work on constructing a new road was about to start, so archeologists rushed here to see if they could take any material from the site. Pictures: Evgeniy Rogovskoi

But the older ones are now undergoing tests to establish whether they are Homo sapiens, or Neanderthal or another pre-human group. 

Researchers say that if they are prehistoric Home sapiens remains, these will be the oldest found in northern Eurasia. 

‘More ancient bones were found (here), but these were not Homo sapiens,’ said Dr Rogovskoi.

A large arsenal of bone knives was found at the site, indicating the owners must have been good hunters.

Animal bones

Animal bones

Animal bones

Excavations at Tuyana archaeological site. Pictures: Vesti.Irkutsk, Evgeniy Rogovskoi

Sharp tools found at the site used semi-precious topaz and rock crystal.

An amulet was made of a cave lion tooth. 

Dr Mikhail Shunkov, the institute’s director, said: 'It is hard to overestimate the importance of the find.

‘During the last several decades, the way experts see development of human evolution in southern Siberia has been changing quite drastically. 

Cave lion claw

An amulet made of a cave lion tooth. Picture: Vesti.Irkutsk

‘The most important question now is when Homo Sapiens appeared in Siberia, and the Tunka valley finds will allow scientists to shed light on it.’

Older Home Sapiens remains have been found in Morocco, dating back 300,000 years, it was announced last year. 

And in a cave in Israel, a jawbone is believed to be of Homo sapiens origin. It has been dated to almost 200,000 years old, twice the age of any previous discovery outside Africa where are species are believed to have originated.

Comments (4)

Muy interesante la hipótesis. La datación de entre 30.000 a 50.000 años de antigüedad introduce una variable novedosa; habrá que esperar mayores resultados que vengan a rectificar o no, nuestra pre-historia humana.
Francisco Calderon, Costa Rica
05/08/2018 23:12

Have to tell you this. If you look at map India-Pakistan looks quite same than Africa continent. Maybe scientist have
had lift or shift in their brain. Monkeys are everywhere why not earliest hominids, and homo sapiens born in somewhere
there natural paradise Altai, India axle. Rivers has been such high ways that anyone, dont have to be/have advanced
thecnology to travel on stream, wooden ferry or only a log go really fast forward and far at once,
when you compare to walking, wandering away from Africa must hve been really slow.
Although goin back against stream is more difficult. Himalaya has born rivers whose
has born (human) life in earth at ancient tales (history knowledge). From Himalaya or
Altai mountains you get far and fast along rivers. Most important person in finnish mythology is called
vänämöinen, riverperson, väinönjokelainen. Finno-uralic culture is based on traveling and living along rivers, and lakes.
Sarianna, Tervamäki
29/07/2018 21:16
Looking forward to hearing the results, it is bound to be interesting whatever human group it is.
Keith Tinkler , Canada
30/05/2018 19:15
姚剑申, 巨鹿/中国
25/05/2018 10:55

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