Thursday, February 10, 2011

Binghamton University Anthropologist In The News

Binghamton University anthropologist Rolf Quam is investigating eight small teeth found in a cave near Rosh Haain, central Israel that are raising big questions about the earliest existence of humans and where we may have originated.

According to, "Part of a team of international researchers led by Dr. Israel Hershkovitz of Tel Aviv University, Qaum and his colleagues have been examining the dental discovery and recently published their joint findings in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology...."The Qesem teeth come from a time period between 200,000 -- 400,000 years ago when human remains from the Middle East are very scarce," Quam said. "We have numerous remains of Neandertals and Homo sapiens from more recent times, that is around 60,00 -- 150,000 years ago, but fossils from earlier time periods are rare. So these teeth are providing us with some new information about who the earlier occupants of this region were as well as their potential evolutionary relationships with the later fossils from this same region...The teeth also present new evidence as to where modern man might have originated. Currently, anthropologists believe that modern humans and Neandertals shared a common ancestor who lived in Africa over 700,000 years ago."

"This is a very exciting time for archeological discovery," Quam said. "Our hope is that the continuing excavation at the site will result in the discover of more complex remains which would help us pinpoint exactly which species we are dealing with."

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