East African cave yields proof of modernism starting 67,000 years ago

Stone tool kits recovered from the Panga ya Saidi cave suggests humans occupied the East African site for thousands of years, dating back to at least 78,000 years ago. Photo by Mohammad Shoaee/MPG
Stone tool kits recovered from the Panga ya Saidi cave suggests humans occupied the East African site for thousands of years, dating back to at least 78,000 years ago. Photo by Mohammad Shoaee/MPG

New Delhi : In an archaeological study focused on the Rift valley in East Africa, archaeologists have found evidence of early cultural innovations which dates back to 67,000 years ago. Till date, very little was unfolded regarding human habitat in the region over the last 78,000 years but now, researchers will be able to dig out pool of information about human history in East Africa.

In addition, researchers recovered the remains of archaic plant and animal, helping them to understand a timeline of the area's ecological history. Their findings highlight the area's climate and ecosystem, a forest-grassland ecotone, a transition between forest and grassland ecosystems which has remained stable over the last 78,000 years.

For now, the ecological record confirms humans' ability to adapt to change in habitats.

"The East African coastal hinterland and its forests and have been long considered to be marginal to human evolution so the discovery of Panga ya Saidi cave will certainly change archaeologists' views and perceptions," Nicole Boivin, archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, said in a news release.

Researchers found stone toolkits dating back to 78,000 years ago. The stone artifacts revealed a change in technology around the Later Stone Age, around 67,000 years ago. Archaeologists say that the adoptions of miniaturized stones may reveal a gradual change in hunting strategies.

"Occupation in a tropical forest-grassland environment adds to our knowledge that our species lived in a variety of habitats in Africa," researcher Patrick Roberts said.

The stone artifacts detailed this week in journal Nature Communications indicates the cave was continuously occupied by early humans, offering additional proof that human populations in the region were able to carry on the climatic effects of the Toba volcanic super-eruption 74,000 years ago.

Along with stone toolkits, researchers have recovered incised bones, ostrich eggshell beads, marine shell beads and artifacts adorned with ochre which are evidences of cultural innovations. Some of the beads are 65,000 years old, making them the oldest found in Kenya.