Earlier Roots for Man Archaeolgy Discovery
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Earlier Roots for Man Archaeolgy Discovery

Ancient teeth uncovered in Israel may be from early man. The 400,000 year old teeth, dug up in a cave in central Israel, resemble those of other Homo sapiens remains found in Israel. But not eveyone agees they are from Homo sapiens.

Ancient teeth uncovered in Israel may be from early man.  The 400,000 year old teeth, dug up in a cave in central Israel, resemble those of other Homo sapiens remains found in Israel.  But not everyone agrees they are from Homo sapiens.


Many scientific theories purport that modern humans and Neanderthals originated from a common ancestor who lived in Africa about 700,000 years ago. Theories also state that ancient human descendants migrated to Europe and developed into Neanderthals and later became extinct. Another group remained in Africa and eventually evolved into Homo sapiens- modern humans.

A new find

A team of archeologists from Tel Aviv University were excavating in the central Israel cave when they discovered the ancient teeth. The teeth, when examined with X-rays and CT scans, were age-dated according to the layers of earth where they were uncovered. The teeth, approximately 400,000 years old as stated earlier, are twice as old as the earliest Homo sapiens remains found so far.

What the find means

Avi Gopher, an archeologist with the university, after examining the teeth with the team, said that if the remains are definitively linked to modern humans' ancestors, it could mean that modern mans roots originated in what is now the country of Israel.  Gopher emphasized that additional modern research is needed and necessary to solidify the pre-human claims. If so, he adds, "This changes the whole picture of evolution."  He said he is confident that his archeological and scientific team will find skulls and bones (that match with the discovered teeth) as they continue their dig. Other scientists doubt Gophers claims though.

Doubting Thomas

Paul Mellers, a Cambridge University prehistory expert casts some doubt on Gophers claims. He says that the study is reputable, however it's premature to say the remains are of human origin.  He says teeth are often unreliable indicators of species origin, and analysis of skull remains are definitely needed to identify the actual species uncovered in the cave by the Israel archeologists team.  "Based on the evidence they've cited,"  Mellars says, "it's a very tenuous and frankly rather remote possibility." He said the uncovered remains are more likely related to the Neanderthals.

Time will tell of course.

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