Ancient human relatives lived on the Arab peninsula for a surprisingly long time – from about 240,000 to 190,000 years…
Ancient human relatives lived on the Arab peninsula for a surprisingly long time – from about 240,000 to 190,000 years ago – and spread in the heart of the region by following its blue rivers and lakes, a new study found.
These early human relatives continued so long as they could have encountered some modern people, or Homo sapiens, under the way, the researchers said in the study, published online yesterday (29 Nov) in the journal Scientific Reports.
But the research group did not make this discovery by studying heaps of prehistoric bones. Rather, they traveled to Saudi Arabia to investigate and judge the stone hand sages that these ancient human relatives created. [In Photos: Hominin Skulls with Mixed Traits Discovered]
In particular, the researchers looked at handshakes made by hominins, a group containing people, our ancestors and our close evolutionary cousins. “In other words, as a group, [hominins] the postdate split between the line that gave rise to our ancestors and the line that gave rise to the ancestors of chimpanzees,” said study leader scientist Eleanor Scerri, Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions colleague at Max Planck- Institute of Humanities Science History in Germany.
“Early hominins had little brains and made rough tools,” said Scerri Live Science. “But later hominins had larger brains and were more sophisticated. Instead of striking stones to produce sharp stone flakes, the beautiful, symmetrical artifacts called hand shafts.”
Large, spun molds (eg hand shafts) made by hominins are known as Acheulean tools. These instruments ̵
1; called “Swiss Army Knife of Prehistory” – were dated 1.5 million years ago; they come from the longest lasting tooling tradition in prehistory, “said Scerri. Because it is rare to find hominin bone, the Acheulean tools are a great place for hominins when trying to figure out when and where they lived, the researchers said.
It is unclear what hominins did the hand shafts in Saudi Arabia. “Hominins found with Acheulean tools include Homo erectus which was probably a direct ancestor of humans,” said Scerri.
The study led the researcher Eleanor Scerri with a giant Acheulean kernel that was fought to create handwrights.
Little was known about the Acheulean groups in the Arabian Peninsula, the critical region of Africa (where early Acheulean tools exist) and Eurasia (where later Acheulean tools have been discovered). Then, the researchers gathered in the new study at Saffaqah, a hominin archaeological site in the Riyadh Province, Saudi Arabia. Archaeologists have known about Saffaqah since the 1980s, when they found 8,395 buried artifacts there. But these artifacts had never been dated.
In order to learn more, scientists emerge in the dirt at Saffaqah and discover more than 500 additional stone artifacts during the excavation.
The dating revealed that hominins lived in Saffaqah as recently as 188,000 years ago, making it the youngest Acheulean site in southwest Asia, found the researchers. This finding is remarkable, as it shows that Arab Acheulean stopped just before or at the same time as the earliest H. sapiens made it to the region, the researchers said.
The international team used luminescence update to determine the tool age. This method measures how much light emitted from energy stored in some types of rock and field, as some minerals store energy from the sun at a known rate, said Scerri. [Photos: Aerial Views of Ancient Stone Structures in Saudi Arabia]
“When these minerals are buried, they can no longer store this energy,” she said. “By heating the minerals, the stored energy is emptied and the amount of energy that empties gives a measure of a point in time when the mineral was last exposed to daylight.”
Archaeologists excavate the old hominin site in Saffaqah, Saudi Arabia.
The research also showed that these hominins spread throughout the Saudi Arabian landscape through its blue waterways. Although Arabia is a big desert today, it was greener for several short periods earlier.
“The hominers who made the Acheulean tools in Saffaqah seemed to be heading into the heart of Arabia when these now dry river networks and channels were active,” said Scerri.
But Saudi Arabia became dry again about 188,000 years ago, she said. So it’s likely that “the hominins responsible for these stone tools were quite resistant to environmental challenges,” she said. “Although Saffaqah’s place was not a desert when these Acheulean hominins were there, it probably was still a dry environment.”
Originally published on Live Science .