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Homo Erectus: Out of Georgia or Out of Africa?

A group of archeologists digs for the earliest signs of upright humans, or homo erectus. (Photo: Reid Ferring/University of North Texas)

Stone artifacts unearthed at Georgia’s Dmanisi archaeological site, 90 kilometers southwest of Tbilisi, suggest that early man may have gotten his start in Eurasia and then migrated to Africa, an international team of scientists contends.

The team’s findings, published in the June 6, 2011 print edition of the Washington, DC-based scientific journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), hold that “Eurasia was probably occupied [by early humans] before Homo erectus [the species from which a straight line of evolution to modern humans begins -- ed] appears in the East African fossil record.”

The sediment in which the artifacts, crude stone tools, were found is “almost 70,000 years older “ than the 1.85 million-year-old early human fossils, also found at Dmanisi, that date as Eurasia’s earliest homo erectus, Reid Ferring, a professor of geoarcheology at the University of North Texas and a member of the research team, told EurasiaNet.org. The sediment is located “several meters below” that earlier find, he said.

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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance reporter based in Tbilisi.

Homo Erectus: Out of Georgia or Out of Africa?

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