Many discoveries have been made that give more and more clues to the history of life on earth. Paleontologists find artifacts throughout the world that not only answer many questions but also raise many new ones. A topic that is still a mystery today is the origin of man. Scientists often debate over where man originated from and who some of his prehistoric relatives were. Some people think that all men are related, and that there has been inter breeding between different groups of men. (I.e. the Neanderthals from Eurasia at some point bred with the homo sapiens of Africa.) Others believe that certain groups of men evolved in a completely different time period in a completely different place.
Three incomplete skulls of Homo sapiens were discovered in 1997. Bruce Bower’s article “African Legacy: Fossils plug gap in human origins” discusses the fossils. These findings are important because according to the discoverers, they are the oldest known fossils of modern people. The skulls were found in Herto, Ethiopian located in eastern Africa. The fossils are dated between 154,000 and 160,000 years ago.i The fossils were dated radioisotopically.ii Since the fossils are the oldest known fossils of modern people, it is probable that these hominids represent the immediate ancestors of humans that are anatomically modern. Tim D. White’s (et al) article “Pleistocene Homo sapiens from Middle Awash, Ethiopia” describes the discovery of the Herto fossils and the research of the artifacts in great detail.
The new discoveries raise many questions about the origin of modern man. Tim D. White, the project’s director claims that the Herto fossils prove that...
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vii White, T.D. et al. Pleistocene Homo sapiens from Middle Awash, Ethiopia. Nature.423, 742-747 (2003)
viii White, T.D. et al. Pleistocene Homo sapiens from Middle Awash, Ethiopia. Nature.423, 742-747 (2003)
ix White, T.D. et al. Pleistocene Homo sapiens from Middle Awash, Ethiopia. Nature.423, 742-747 (2003)
x Bower, Bruce, African Legacy: Fossils plug gap in human origins. Science News Online, vol. 163, No. 24 http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20030614/fob1.asp
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