Olduvai Gorge Finger – Questioning Human Origins

Researchers recently discovered of a >1.8 million-year-old little finger. They published their findings in the prestigious Nature Communications Journal. Interestingly, on extensive analysis and comparisons with known species, this bone was found to fall within the Homo Sapiens (modern man) category.

However, as the bone is dated to be >1.8 million years old in their discussion, the researchers exclude it from being placed in the Homo Sapiens category:

Collectively, these results lead to the conclusion that OH 86 represents a hominin species different from the taxon represented by OH 7, and whose closest form affinities are to modern H. sapiens (Fig. 3). However, the geological age of OH 86 obviously precludes its assignment to H. sapiens..

In the spirit of science, the discovers have left the final conclusions open to further evidence. However, others claim this finding is another drop in a growing body of evidence which challenges the conventionally accepted theories of human origins.

Even in accepted archaeological science the date for when we ‘anatomically moderns’ first came into existence has seen a constant push to earlier and earlier times. Current estimates are around 200,000 years edging closer towards 300,000 years (or even earlier). However, some archaeological evidence doesn’t seem to fit the prevailing narrative. These types of finds hint at human (modern) origins  which go back millions of years as opposed to hundreds of thousands.

 

Reference:

Domínguez-Rodrigo, M., Pickering, T., Almécija, S., Heaton, J., Baquedano, E., Mabulla, A. and Uribelarrea, D. (2015). Earliest modern human-like hand bone from a new >1.84-million-year-old site at Olduvai in Tanzania. [online] https://www.nature.com/ncomms. Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms8987