One of the oldest human burials in Africa was found by scientists, who discovered the remnants of a toddler that is 78,000 years ago.
Scientists discover the oldest human burial in Africa
According to a group of scientists, they found evidence of the first known human buried in a grave. The location of the fossil is 10 miles inland from southeast Kenya's ocean beaches. Their investigation shows the grave of an early Homo sapiens child dated at 78,000 years old via carbon dating, reported National Geographic.
Even though some human burials in the Middle East and Europe are older, the excavation in Africa is one of the oldest unquestionable examples of a body interred in a pit prepared for that purpose anywhere in the world.
The fossil called "Mtoto" is Swahili for "child." It was identified online today in the journal Nature. It joins two other, slightly younger burial sites in Africa that also involve children.
"This is undeniably a funeral, distinctively dated. It's very early. "Very remarkable," says Paleolithic burial expert Paul Pettitt of Durham University in England, who was not involved in the research, cited Durham University.
Pettitt claims that the ages of the deceased are particularly telling in understanding the nature of burial as a ritual activity, even though three instances in the entire continent are hardly a representative sample.
He claims that "modern hunter-gatherer societies believe that death is natural and inevitable." But, there are two exceptions: death from injuries and baby and child death. Perhaps we can see the blurry development of the perception that death comes too soon is abnormal and requires to be marked in a particular manner." It is one of the oldest human burials in Africa that he notes.
Mtoto's grave was found in Panga ya Saidi, an extensive cave system close to the Kenyan coast. A team conducted by the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History based in Jena, Germany, has been digging up the structure since 2010.
So far, thousands of stone tools, shell beads, butchered animal bones, and other artifacts have been found at the site, indicating a continuous human impact from today to 80,000 years ago in Africa's Middle Stone Age.
The Max Planck Institute's Michael Petraglia said, "This site was always favorable to occupancy." "No one ever completely faded away." The Max Planck Institute notes it.
Emmanuel Ndiema, the chief of the museum's archaeology department and a part of the research team, says, "We understood we were really into something significant." "Nevertheless, the specimen was extremely delicate."
"Everything was in position," says Mara Martinón-Torres, director of the CENIEH, who led the research. "It's not just a piece of rock. We have a human body. We've had a baby."
In addition to the skeleton's articulated position, several proofs suggested that the child had been deliberately buried soon after death.
The soils inside the pit were distinctly different from the surrounding sediments, and they were scattered with snail shells and tracks by earthworm-eating snails found near corpses buried in bare earth.
It is the oldest human burial in Africa with a toddler, indicating early homo sapiens considered this death untimely.