1.8-Million-Year-Old Homo Erectus Tooth Found in Georgia
Archaeologists working in Georgia found a 1.8-million-year-old tooth belonging to an early human species migrating from Africa. The finding reinforces the site as possibly one of the oldest prehistoric human settlements found anywhere outside of Africa.
The tooth was found near the village of Orozmani, about 96km southwest of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, near Dmanisi, where 1.8-million-year-old human skulls were found in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
1.8 million year old tooth found near Orozmani, Georgia. A: Reuters
The findings at Dmanisi are considered the oldest such discovery anywhere in the world outside of Africa. It is also known to change scientists' understanding of early human evolution and migratory behavior.
Experts say the latest discovery at a site about 19km away provides further evidence that the mountainous southern Caucasus region was probably one of the first places where early humans settled after migrating from Africa.
Giorgi Bidzinashvili, the scientific leader of the excavation team, says he thinks the tooth found belongs to a "cousin" of Zezva and Mzia, the name given to people with fossilized skulls of about 1.8 million years in Dmanisi.
The excavation site near Orozmani. A: Reuters
Jack Peart, an archeology student who found the tooth at Orozmani, said, "The implications are huge, not just for this site, but for Georgia and the story of the people who left Africa 1.8 million years ago. I consider Georgia a really important place for paleoanthropology and the human story in general" strengthens it” says.
The oldest Homo fossils anywhere in the world are a partial jaw discovered in present-day Ethiopia and date from about 2.8 million years ago.
Scientists believe early humans, a hunter-gatherer species called Homo erectus, probably began migrating from Africa around 2 million years ago. Ancient tools dating to around 2.1 million years ago have been discovered in modern-day China, but settlements in Georgia are home to the earliest remains of early humans found outside of Africa.