Archaeologists find 1.8M-year-old Homo erectus skull

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Archaeologists say they have found a 1.8 million-year-old Homo erectus skull in Georgia, the oldest such skull to be found in Europe. According to David Lortkipanidze, director of the Georgian National Museum, the skull was found August 6 and excavated on August 21 in Dmanisi, about 85 km southwest of Tblisi.

The skull was said to have been found at a site archaeologists have been examining since 1936 along with four other bones and fragments, including a jaw bone found in 1991. "Practically all the remains have been found in one place. This indicates that we have found a place of settlement of primitive people," said Lortkipanidze.[1]

The researchers said their find was more than one million years older than any outside Africa. The skull and other remains have been cited as evidence of Homo erectus's migration into Europe at least 500,000 years earlier than has previously been thought.

Previously fossils of the hominid ancestor have been found in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Some of Lortkipanidze's earlier findings that had more slender, small features, including a smaller brain relative to Homo sapiens, contradicted anthropological theories that Homo erectus was large and intelligent even by Homo sapiens standards.