A team of scientists led by Mohamed Sahnouni, an archeologist of the National Center for Research on Human Evolution (CENIEH), has just published an article in the journal Science which breaks with the paradigm that the cradle of humanity lies in East Africa, from the archaeological remains found in the sites of the Ain Hanech region (Algeria), the oldest known nowadays in the north of the country, # 39; Africa.
For a long time, East Africa has been considered the site of the first hominids and lithic technology, as so far, little was known about the first occupation and hominid activities in north of the continent. Two decades of field and laboratory research led by Dr. Sahnouni have shown that ancestral hominids really did stone tools in North Africa that were close to the news with the first stone tools known in Africa dating dated 2 , 6 million years.
These are stone and animal bones, which have cut marks for stone tools, with an estimated chronology of 2.4 and 1.9 million years respectively, found in two Levels in the Ain Boucherit sites (within the Ain Hanech study area) dated using paleomagnetism, electronic spin resonance (ESR) and the biocronology of large mammals excavated along with the archaeological materials
Animal fossils such as pigs, horses and elephants, from ancient sites, have been used by paleontologist Jan van der Made, from the National Museum of Natural Sciences of Madrid, to confirm the ages of Paleomagnetism obtained by geocronologist CENIEH Josep Parés and ESR, found by Mathieu Duval, of Griffith University.
Ain Boucherit artifacts were manufactured with limestone and flint locally available and included faces worked in helicopters, polyhedra and sub-spheres, as well as sharp cutting tools to process animal corpse. These devices are characteristic of Oldowan stone technology known from 2.6 to 1.9 million years of age in Africa, although the d & Ain Boucherit shows subtle variations.
"Ainery Boucherit's technology industry, technologically similar to that of Gona and Olduvai, shows that our ancestors ventured into every corner of Africa, not just in East Africa. L & # 39; Algeria's evidence changes the previous view that East Africa was the cradle of humanity. In fact, Africa was the cradle of humanity, "said Sahnouni, leader of the Ain project Hanech.
They are not merited
Ain Boucherit is one of the few archeological sites in Africa that has provided evidence of bones with associated brands of cut and percussion in situ with stone tools, which unequivocally shows that these ancestral hominids exploited the flesh and blood A bone marrow of all sizes and skeletal parts, which involved skinning, evisceration and unblocking of upper and intermediate limbs.
Isabel Cáceres, economist at IPHES, commented that "the efficient use of sharp tools in Ain Boucherit suggests that our ancestors were not mere evacuators. It is not clear at this time if they were hunted, but The evidence clearly shows that they competed with carnivores and enjoyed first access to animal corpses. "
The manufacturers of tools
At this time, the most important question is who made discovering the stone tools in Algeria. Still, there have not been hominid remains in North Africa that are contemporary with the first stone artifacts. In fact, no hominins have yet been documented in direct association with the first stone tools known in East Africa.
However, a recent discovery in Ethiopia has shown the presence of a precocious Homo dated to 2.8 million years, probably the best candidate for the materials of the east and north of the United States, # 39; Africa.
Scientists have long thought that hominids and their material culture originated in the Great Rift Valley in Africa. Surprisingly, the first known hominid, dated 7.0 million years ago, and 3.3 million years Australopithecus Bahrelghazali, have discovered in Chad, in the Sahara, 3,000 km of the rift valleys in the east of Africa.
As Sileshi Semaw, a CENIEH scientist and co-author of this paper, explains that contemporary hominids with Lucy (3.2 million years) probably wandered through the Sahara, and their descendants could have been the people in charge of # 39; abandon these archaeological puzzles now Discovered in Algeria, which is close to the contemporaries of those in East Africa.
"Future research will focus on the search for human fossils in the near deposits of Miocene and Plio-Pleistocene, looking for manufacturers of older stone tools and tools," Sahnouni concludes.