Human relatives slaughtered their counterparts 1.45 million years ago

Age uncertainty aside, two studies–one from 2000 and the other from 2018–that examined the fossil disagree about the origin of the traces beneath the skull’s right zygomatic bone.

One study suggests that the tracks are from stone tools used by hominin relatives, while another believes they were formed by contact with sharp stones on the skull. And even if it was ancient hominins who made these trails, it’s not clear if they would have slaughtered each other for food, as there are no large muscles in the skull.

To answer the question about whether the tibia fossil that she and her colleagues studied is indeed the oldest hominin fossil with cut marks, Bubener would like to see the skull from South Africa, which is said to have cut marks made using the same techniques. She said check.

She also said that this shocking new discovery is a testament to the value of the museum’s collections.

“You can make some amazing discoveries by going back into museum collections and looking at fossils again,” Buebner said. “Not everyone sees everything the first time. It takes a community of scientists with different questions and techniques to continue expanding our knowledge of the world.”

The study, conducted by Bubener, Panty and Kiefel, was published in the Scientific reports by nature. This article is based on a press release from the Smithsonian Institution.

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Megan Vasquez

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