Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




ABOUT US
Dating is refined for the Atapuerca site where Homo antecessor appeared
by Staff Writers
Madrid, Spain (SPX) Feb 11, 2014


This image shows the Gran Dolina site, where the first remains of Homo antecessor were discovered in 1994. Image courtesy SINC.

One of the issues of the Atapuerca sites that generates the most scientific debate is the dating of the strata where the fossils are found. Therefore, researchers at the Spanish National Research Centre for Human Evolution, among others, strive to settle the dates. A study published by the 'Journal of Archaeological Science' has clarified that the sediment of Gran Dolina, where the first remains of Homo antecessor were discovered in 1994, is 900,000 years old.

The findings at the Lower Palaeolithic cave site of Gran Dolina, in the Sierra de Atapuerca mountain range (Burgos), have led to major advancements in our knowledge of human evolution and occupation of Eurasia.

In 1995, specifically, the discovery of the first hominid remains in a stratum of land named TD6, which dated from more than 780,000 years back, was made public in the journal 'Nature'. This was the Homo antecessor, the oldest known hominid species in Europe.

As the dating of this and other archaeological sites is the subject of scientific debate - in 2012, a British newspaper questioned Juan Luis Arsuaga, co-director of the sites, and accused him of "distorting our picture of human evolution" -, the researchers are working to date them more precisely.

As Josep M. Pares, from the Spanish National Research Centre for Human Evolution, who is leading this study on the new dating of level TD6 of the Gran Dolina, tells SINC: "We are applying new methods and techniques, and we also have better field and laboratory knowledge. We have published a study that represents a small step towards a large project which will take us longer: reviewing all the dates in order to refine them. We want to include it all within a more solid geochronological framework."

What this study strictly contributes is the combination of the technique of palaeomagnetism - which entails revising the polarity of the materials constituting stratigraphic layers - with assessing existing dating figures.

"On the one hand we employ paramagnetic resonance, and on the other what is known as optically stimulated luminescence. This provides numerical dates, absolute ages. We have reviewed these and combined them with the new figures from palaeomagnetism in order to expand upon the chronology of this level TD6 of the Gran Dolina and the fossils it contains."

They were previously given a minimum age of 780,000 years and now it is known that they are referring more accurately to around 900,000 years. "The change might sound very small or very large," the expert continues, "but the TD6 stratum is known precisely as having been the place of discovery of the Homo antecessor and this further defines its age."

Since then, a further 90 human fossils and over 200 fragments of carved stone have also been discovered. The extent of the excavation grows ever larger and being able to date it is of great interest to the scientists.

"The site has produced thousands of fossils and artifacts and has become a Pleistocene landmark in studies on early human settlement outside the African continent," the article explains.

Now, they are going to attempt to use individual fossils, especially teeth, and obtain direct dates for the remains found, as well as those already known by their sediments.

"When we handle these figures there are always error margins. For example, when we publish the dating figures for the Sima del Elefante, we are talking about 1.2 million years and the error margin is around 130,000 years. It seems like a huge amount, but it is actually only a small percentage, which can reach 10% of the chronology," Pares concludes.

J.M. Pares, L. Arnold, M. Duval, M. Demuro, A. Perez-Gonzalez, J.M. Bermudez de Castro, E. Carbonell, J.L. Arsuaga. "Reassessing the age of Atapuerca-TD6 (Spain): new paleomagnetic results" Journal of Archaeological Science 40: 4586 - 4595, 2013.

.


Related Links
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ABOUT US
Footprints found in British rocks said oldest ever outside of Africa
London (UPI) Feb 7, 2013
Footprints fund preserved in rocks on the coast of England are the earliest human footprints ever found outside of Africa, researchers say. Scientists from Queen Mary University of London, the British Museum and the Natural History Museum say as many as five people left the series of footprints in mud along the bank of an ancient river estuary more than 800,000 years ago in northeast No ... read more


ABOUT US
Bottom-up insight into crowd dynamics

British flood victims angry at lack of help

With billboards, tweets, Philippines thanks world for typhoon aid

Floating school offers hope in Nigeria's 'slum on stilts'

ABOUT US
Scientists use 'voting' and 'penalties' to overcome quantum errors

China gold consumption leaps 41% in 2013

Theorists predict new forms of exotic insulating materials

MDA announces Canada's DND Sapphire satellite completes commissioning

ABOUT US
Fish biomass in the ocean is 10 times higher than estimated

Link confirmed between salmon migration, magnetic field

California Drought

Battle of the Nile: Egypt, Ethiopia clash over mega-dam

ABOUT US
Research gives new insight into diet of large ancient mammals

Ice age's arctic tundra lush with wildflowers for woolly mammoths

A Look Back and Ahead at Greenland's Changing Climate

DNA reveals new clues: Why did mammoths die out?

ABOUT US
New GM corn gets controversial EU go-ahead

Brazil soy, corn production overcome drought

Polish woman guilty of killing two million bees: court

Closely-watched GM farm case begins in Australia

ABOUT US
British PM warns of worsening floods crisis

Flood-hit Zimbabwe seeks $20 million in relief aid

Swamped villagers summon wartime spirit as Thames floods

Britain's River Thames on flood alert as blame game rages

ABOUT US
South Sudan peace talks postponed: officials

French defence chief urges crackdown on C.Africa militias

C. Africa militia is 'enemy of peace': French commander

Clashes in Bangui leave at least 10 dead: witnesses

ABOUT US
Dating is refined for the Atapuerca site where Homo antecessor appeared

Footprints found in British rocks said oldest ever outside of Africa

Experiments show human brain uses one code for space, time, distance

Researchers discover how brain regions work together, or alone




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement