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400,000 Year Old Fossil Helps Shed New Light on Human Evolution

The human decrease jaw present in a cave close to Balanica, Serbia. (Mirjana Roksandic)

A virtually 400,000 12 months outdated human fossil found in a Serbian cave helps scientists shed new mild on human evolution.

Winnipeg, MB – A fossil fragment of a human decrease jaw recovered from a Serbian cave is the oldest human ancestor discovered on this a part of Europe. The newly obtained radiometric date of the fossil was published today in PLOS ONE by William Jack Rink, McMaster College, Canada, and the worldwide workforce underneath the course of Dušan Mihailović, College of Belgrade, Serbia, and Mirjana Roksandic, College of Winnipeg, Canada.

“The fossil was discovered to be at the very least 397,000 years outdated and presumably older than 525,000 years outdated,” defined Rink. “We used three unbiased strategies (electron spin resonance, uranium sequence isotopic evaluation and infrared luminescence relationship) which had remarkably constant outcomes reinforcing our conclusion. This established the mandible because the oldest easternmost European fossil of its form.”

“Throughout this time, people in Western Europe began to develop Neanderthal traits, which is missing on this specimen,” defined Roksandic. ”Scientists now assume the evolution of Neanderthal traits was strongly influenced by periodic isolation attributable to episodic formation of glaciers. Alternatively, people in southeastern Europe had been by no means geographically remoted from Asia and Africa by glaciers and accordingly, this resulted in several evolutionary forces appearing on early human populations on this area. The Balkan Peninsula might have belonged to the postulated core space from which human populations repopulated Europe after the glaciers receded. The standing of this specimen as Homo erectus s.l. suits nicely with this rationalization.”

“Southeastern Europe is essential in understanding human evolution,” expressed Mihailović. “Effectively dated human fossils from this time interval are uncommon, and one from this a part of the world is phenomenal. The date opens a brand new and thrilling frontier in analysis. This examine confirms the significance of southeast Europe as a ‘gate to the continent’ and one of many three important areas the place people, vegetation and animals sought refuge throughout glaciations in prehistoric instances. This conjures up us to proceed to dig.”

This discover is a results of a world – interdisciplinary collaboration of anthropologists, archeologists, physicists and earth scientists – from Serbia, Canada, England and France. The location has been excavated by the College of Belgrade since 2004 funded by the Serbian Ministry of Tradition, and since 2010 hosts an Worldwide field-school in Paleoanthropology and Paleolithic Archaeology collectively with The College of Winnipeg. The mandible was present in 2006 and dated initially on the College of Bordeaux. Electron spin resonance (ESR) work was carried out in Dr. Rink’s laboratory at McMaster College’s College of Geography and Earth Sciences and on the McMaster Nuclear Reactor. The uranium sequence isotopic evaluation was carried out on the Centre de Recherche GEOTOP, Université du Québec à Montréal. Infrared stimulated luminescence (IRSL) relationship was carried out on the Centre de Recherche en Physique Appliquée à l’Archéologie on the College of Bordeaux (France).

Publication: Rink WJ et al. 2013. New Radiometric Ages for the BH-1 Hominin from Balanica (Serbia): Implications for Understanding the Function of the Balkans in Center Pleistocene Human Evolution. PLoS ONE 8(2): e54608; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054608

Picture: Mirjana Roksandic

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