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Upper jaw of Homo Erectus discovered in Java

A team studying the geology and dating of the Sangiran lower fossil beds has unearthed a 1.5 million-year-old upper jaw of the human ancestor Homo erectus. 

Views of the Homo erectus upper jaw found in Java [Credit: University of Iowa]
Found at Sangiran on Indonesia's Java Island, the jaw is the oldest reputably dated example of "Java Man", the Homo erectus type originally discovered in 1891. 

The find came from Sangiran expeditions conducted from 1998 through 2008 and co-led by UI Professor Russell L. Ciochon and ITB Professor Yahdi Zaim and in 2001, UI Associate Professor of Geoscience E. Arthur Bettis III joined the team to study the stratigraphy, sedimentology and soils in order to reliably date the Sangiran site. 

The new fossil is the first Java specimen found in beds under direct geological study, making its provenance incontrovertible, Ciochon notes that the new fossil teeth contained within the jawbone show similarities to Homo erectus teeth found in East Africa and Western Eurasia. 

He also said that they are less like those of China's "Peking Man" –  Homo erectus teeth found in Northeast Asia. 

"Our team's find at Sangiran is one of several recently discovered human fossils, such as the so-called 'Hobbit' -- an island-dwarfed species of early human -- of the Indonesian island of Flores, as well as the discovery of a unique ancient human DNA lineage at a site in Siberia called Denisova, that has put East Asia in the scientific spotlight," Ciochon said. 

"We are now gaining a greater appreciation for the complexity of human evolution in the region, and our research at Sangiran provides yet another line of evidence in an ever-growing mass of data that will help shed light on this faintly illuminated region in our distant human past," he added.  

More information can be found in the article to be published in the October issue of the Journal of Human Evolution

Source: New Kerala [September 25, 2011]
TANN

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