Evidence of 700,000-Year-Old Ancient Humans Found in Philippines

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Archeologists found stone tools on the island of Luzon in the Philippines from an ancestor 700,000-years older than modern humans. The tools were used to butcher a rhinoceros by a currently unknown ancestor, though there are a few culprits.

Until now, the oldest fossil evidence of humans found in the Philippines were 67,000-years old coming from Callao Cave on the same island. Now, this new find drastically changes the perceived timeline of our hominin ancestors’ diaspora to southeastern Asian islands.

Though the rhino remains are likely the work of Homo erectus, the mysterious Denisovans, and the less likely Homo floresiensis still have not been ruled out. A lack of any hominin fossil evidence only allows archeologists to speculate which ancestor was so adept at butchering.

The fossilized remains found at the Kalinga site in the Cagayan Valley show it was a spot where many animals were butchered meticulously to reach all the way down to the marrow of the animals’ bones.

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image courtesy of nationalgeographic.com

 

The team uncovered 57 stone tools and roughly 400 bones total, belonging to an assortment of animals, including lizards, turtles, deer, stegodons, and rhinoceroses. The bones of larger animals make it less likely that the tools belonged to Homo floresiensis, due to that ancestors’ hobbit-like stature, reaching an average height of 3 feet 6 inches tall. Though it’s presence on nearby Indonesian islands keeps it in the running.

Previously, archeologists only had evidence of hominin migration to southeastern Pacific islands in the Indonesian archipelago dating back 118,000 years ago. This is where Homo floresiensis was found, and some speculate to possibly still exist. Now that timeline has been pushed back more than half a million years.

But archeologists still don’t know how they got there.

One possibility is that a land bridge may have existed back then, or a tsunami may have forced unassuming hominins out to sea, surviving on makeshift rafts, until they wound up on a foreign island. Neither of these theories are proven however, and it may be possible that these ancestors were intelligent and capable of building seafaring vessels, intentionally exploring new islands.

The only finding that can be confirmed for certain is that they were able to travel across distant stretches of ocean. It also shows that our understanding of human evolution is constantly being challenged and is far more complex than we may have imagined.

Denisovans: They Might Be Giants


What is the Code of Ur Nammu?

Unless you’re a member of law enforcement or an attorney, you probably don’t think too much about the laws that govern you on a daily basis. That’s not to say you’re oblivious — you’re probably just so used to certain laws that you wouldn’t think twice about keeping to or breaking them.

The origins of these laws, however, provide important insight into human civilization. Some of the laws we have in place today can be traced back to ancient times — specifically to someone called Ur Nammu.

Who was Ur Nammu?

Ur Nammu was a Sumerian king who lived around the year 2000 BC. He founded the third dynasty of Ur and initiated what is now known as the “Sumerian Renaissance,” a period of time in which Sumerian society heavily emphasized the arts and culture.

Achievements of Ur Nammu

Ur Nammu is praised for his myriad achievements, including but not limited to:

  • The building of the Great Ziggurat of Ur: This ancient Sumerian structure, located in present-day Iraq, is thought to have been a temple dedicated to the moon god Nanna.
  • Overthrowing the Gutians: Ur Nammu followed in his father-in-law Utu-Hegel’s footsteps to drive the Gutian people out of the Sumerian cities.
  • Conquering other cities including Eridu
  • Revitalizing Sumerian culture: Ur Nammu spearheaded projects such as planting orchards, revitalizing the arts, and strengthening Sumer’s infrastructure and economy.

Among all of Ur Nammu’s achievements, the Code of Ur Nammu is arguably the most significant.

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