Earliest human occupations at Dmanisi (Georgian Caucasus) dated to 1.85-1.78 Ma

Reid Ferring, Oriol Oms, Jordi Agustí, Francesco Berna, Medea Nioradze, Teona Shelia, Martha Tappen, Abesalom Vekua, David Zhvania, David Lordkipanidze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations

Abstract

The early Pleistocene colonization of temperate Eurasia by Homo erectus was not only a significant biogeographic event but also a major evolutionary threshold. Dmanisi's rich collection of hominin fossils, revealing a population that was small-brained with both primitive and derived skeletal traits, has been dated to the earliest Upper Matuyama chron (ca. 1.77 Ma). Here we present archaeological and geologic evidence that push back Dmanisi's first occupations to shortly after 1.85 Ma and document repeated use of the site over the last half of the Olduvai subchron, 1.85-1.78 Ma. These discoveries show that the southern Caucasus was occupied repeatedly before Dmanisi's hominin fossil assemblage accumulated, strengthening the probability that this was part of a core area for the colonization of Eurasia. The secure age for Dmanisi's first occupations reveals that Eurasia was probably occupied before Homo erectus appears in the East African fossil record.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10432-10436
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume108
Issue number26
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 28 2011

Keywords

  • Lower paleolithic
  • Paleoanthropology

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