Friday, 11 November 2016

Iwo-Eleru, Nigeria, Ancient Skull

Recent archaeological research has shown that people were already living in Nigeria (specifically the Iwo-Eleru) as early as 11,000 B.C.E., and perhaps earlier at Ugwuelle-Uturu (Okigwe) in south-eastern Nigeria.
Iwo-Eleru Skull
 Scientists have collected more evidence to suggest that ancient and modern humans interbred in Africa. Reanalysis of the 13,000-year-old skull from a cave in West Africa reveals a skull more primitive-looking than its age suggests. Top left and below original and copies of the human skull found in Iwo-Eleru 11,000 B.C.E.

The result suggests that the ancestors of early humans did not die out quickly in Africa, but instead lived alongside their descendants and bred with them until comparatively recently.

The skull, found in the Iwo Eleru cave in Nigeria in 1965, does not look like a modern human. It is longer and flatter with a strong brow ridge; features closer to a much older skull from Tanzania, thought to be around 140,000 years old.

Prof Katerina Harvati from the University of Tuebingen in Germany used new digitising techniques to capture the surface of the skull in detail. The new technique improved upon the original measurements done with calipers by letting researchers see subtler details about the skull's surface.
Iwo-Eleru Skulls
 The cast of the Iwo Eleru skull shows marks of a more ancient ancestor "[The skull] has got a much more primitive appearance, even though it is only 13,000 years old," said Chris Stringer, from London's Natural History Museum, who was part of the team of researchers.

"This suggests that human evolution in Africa was more complex... the transition to modern humans was not a straight transition and then a cut off." Prof Stringer thinks that ancient humans did not die away once they had given rise to modern humans. They may have continued to live alongside their descendants in Africa, perhaps exchanging genes with them, until more recently than had been thought. The researchers say their findings also underscore a real lack of knowledge of human evolution in the region.
Nok Twins 500 BCE
But palaeontologists are not all agreed on precisely what the new analysis is telling us - or, indeed, whether it is telling us anything definitive at all. "I do not think that these findings add anything new to our view," said Prof Clive Finlayson, director of the Gibraltar Museum, who was not connected to the study. "We have a few fossils, and no idea of natural variation within populations.

That the situation is not simple and is deep and complex is what we would expect. "In my view, it is the field of genetics that will help us most in clarifying matters," he told BBC News. Separate research published earlier this month suggests that genetic mixing between hominid species happened in Africa up to 35,000 years ago.

Microlithic and ceramic industries were developed by savanna pastoralists from at least the 4th millennium BC and were continued by subsequent agricultural communities. The Efik/Ibibio/Annang Efik, Ibibio, and Annang people of single ancestor of the coastal southeastern Nigeria are known to have lived in the area at least 7 thousands years before Christ.

As a matter of fact, concerning the age of iron working in Nigeria, Basil Davidson indicated in his work Africa before the whites [18] that 'four charcoal fragments in the Nok strata were revealed to have dates between 3500, 2000, 900 B.C.and 200 A.D by carbon dating'. The author then continues by giving the following commentary by Bernard Fagg.

Eurocentrics for years had led the whole world to believe that "Iron Age" started in Southwest Asia in 1500 B.C.E. However, iron smelting in Lejja is 495 older than that done in Asia, 1,045 years older than China's Iron Age, and 695 years younger than the Egyptian Pyramids. The team visited various tourist sites in Enugu State including the Institute for African Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), which led an excursion trip to the Prehistoric Iron smelting site in Lejja in Nsukka.
The Lejja visit proved to be a most auspicious event, for it exposed the visitors to the world’s oldest iron smelting technology.

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