Archaeologists have found a 1.8 million-year-old human tooth
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Featured Image Credit: Giorgi Bidzinashvili
Archaeologists from Georgia have discovered a tooth that belongs to an early species of human from 1.8 million years ago.
It doesn’t really need saying twice, but that is a seriously long time ago, making this a really cool discovery.
The find also shows that Georgia must have been home to one of the oldest prehistoric human settlements in Europe, maybe even outside Africa.
The tooth was found about 100 kilometres from the capital city of Tbilisi, in a village called Orozmani.
In that same area, human skulls from around the same period were discovered in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
There’s a lot of really old and cool stuff in the region, it would certainly seem.
When those skulls were discovered in a place called Dmanisi, they served to change the scientific community’s grasp on early human migration patterns and evolution.
Now, at the new site about 20 kilometres away they’ve found this tooth, further proving that the area in Georgia’s mountainous southern Caucasus region was one of the first stopping off points for humans as they migrated out of Africa all of those years ago.
In a statement announcing the historic find, the National Research Centre of Archaeology and Prehistory of Georgia said: "Orozmani, together with Dmanisi, represents the centre of the oldest distribution of old humans - or early Homo - in the world outside Africa.”
The dig team was led by scientist Giorgi Bidzinashvili, who said that the tooth seems to belong to a ‘cousin’ of Zezva and Mzia, which were the names given to the skulls found several years back.
The tooth itself was pulled from the ground by British archaeology student Jack Peart, who said: "The implications, not just for this site, but for Georgia and the story of humans leaving Africa 1.8 million years ago are enormous.
"It solidifies Georgia as a really important place for paleoanthropology and the human story in general.”
The oldest early human fossils in the world date to much longer ago than this, however.
In Ethiopia a partial jawbone was discovered that dates to around 2.8 million years ago.
It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it?
The idea of humans walking around nearly 3,000,000 years back.
Scientists tend to agree that humans – more specifically an early species called Homo Erectus – started to migrate from Africa around 2.1 million years ago.
Tools dating back that far have been found in China, but the Georgian remains are the oldest that have ever been found outside the continent of Africa.