The first Cro-Magnon people appeared on the territory of Indonesia unexpectedly early, about 73 thousand years ago, several thousand years before the first “volcanic end of the world” and the extinction of the mysterious “hobbits” from the island of Flores, according to an article published in the journal Nature.
“The new date for the appearance of people in Indonesia is another argument in favor of the need to completely reconsider the question of when people left Africa.The early date of the outcome of mankind not only corresponds more to genetic data, but also indicates that our ancestors have long possessed Sufficient flexibility of mind and skills that helped them adapt to life in new regions, “write Kira Westaway of the University of Macquarie in Sydney, Australia and her colleagues.
The remains of ancient people, about a meter in height, which the press almost immediately called “hobbits”, were found in the cave of Liang Bois on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003 and presented to the public in October 2004 by a team of scientists led by the late paleontologist Michael Morvud, discoveries.
Morvud and his colleagues declared their discovery a new species, named Homo floresiensis. Initially, paleontologists believed that the floressian people were descendants of a Homo erectus person (Homo erectus). Thanks to the phenomenon of so-called island dwarfism over millions of years of isolation, these ancient people gradually degenerated into hobbits, whose brain was three times less than in modern Homo sapiens.
The absence of new fossils led many scientists to believe that the “hobbits” were ordinary people who turned into dwarfs due to congenital malformations. Only recently did scientists provide convincing evidence in favor of the fact that the “hobbits” were a separate species of people who appeared on the island of Flores at least 700,000 years ago and disappeared about 50,000 years ago, long before, it was thought, before the arrival of a man in Indonesia.
Westway and her colleagues found out that this was probably not the case, conducting excavations in the cave Lida-Adzher, located in the central part of the island of Sumatra. Remains of ancient people here were found at the end of the XIX century, but they hardly attracted the attention of scientists for the reason that their age, due to the peculiarities of the tropical climate, could not be determined.
Morewood, Westway and their colleagues were able to solve this riddle by studying the contents of not the artifacts or bones themselves, but the neighboring rocks. Inside them, the products of the decay of long-lived radioactive substances accumulate, the study of which allows us to accurately estimate the age of the finds.
For example, the accumulation of fission products of the nuclei of radioactive elements inside grains of quartz sand makes them shine more strongly when irradiated with light or infrared radiation if they have never left the rock strata.
After calculating the age of various layers of rocks and stalactites in Lida-Adzher, scientists came to the conclusion that the remains of people in it were buried approximately 73-62 thousand years ago, several tens of thousands of years before the supposed time of penetration of Homo sapiens into Southeast Asia.
This means that the first people appeared in Australia and in Indochina almost simultaneously, and says that humanity left Africa much earlier than scientists thought. In addition, the early date of the Cro-Magnonians’ penetration into Indochina suggests that they could in principle be in contact with the “hobbits” and influence their disappearance.
In addition, this discovery indicates that the first inhabitants of Indonesia survived the “volcanic end of the world” – the explosion of the Toba supervolcan, which occurred about 71,000 years ago just off the coast of Sumatra. This catastrophe, as some anthropologists suggest, was the reason for the almost complete extinction of mankind in this era, and the discovery of Morvud and his colleagues puts this claim in doubt.