Skip to comments.The man who died half a million years ago
Posted on 10/05/2007 4:25:03 AM PDT by Renfield
The man who died half a million years ago
In a gravel pit at Boxgrove, just outside Chichester, the remains of a man have been discovered, half a million years old. Only a shin bone and two teeth were discovered, but his position, under thick layers of gravel show that he is the oldest 'man' so far discovered in Britain.
The Boxgrove quarry
The discovery was made in a gravel quarry. The gravel was laid down in a later Ice Age on top of a chalk bed, which is visible in the upper squares. Originally a stream flowed from the cliffs (bottom left, behind the camera), and around this stream, numerous remains of animal bones were found, and also numerous handaxes - and part of a human skeleton.
The most famous discovery - a tibia, or shin bone from an early man. Both ends have been gnawed off, probably by a wolf, but it was from a robust individual, very active, and is assigned to the group known as 'Heidelberg man'. Two teeth were also discovered at the bottom of the channel, at least a metre lower than the tibia. The teeth probably come from the same individual, and are similar to the teeth from Mauer man.
One of the flint handaxes found at Boxgrove
This shows very clearly the 'tranchet' tip: a blow had been struck at the top left corner removing a flake from the top quarter of the axe, thus leaving a razor-sharp edge. Over 250 of such hand axes were found in a single season. The associated fauna - notably some voles' teeth, show that the site is to be dated to a period before the 'Anglian' or 'Great' ice age, and should therefore be dated to around 500,000 years old.
Section through the quarry
Today the site is on the flat coastal plain, several miles from the sea to the south, and a mile from the low foothills of the South Downs to the north. Half a million years ago however, the site lay at the foot of chalk cliffs 200 metres high, which have since been totally eroded. Here we see the foot of the former cliffs, top left, with some of the storm beaches thrown up by the sea (right). When the sea level fell, a broad grassy plain soon evolved, a rich habitat for animals and early man. [Poster's note: the picture referenced in this paragraph is missing from the original article]
Really old dead person ping.
He’s still dead, Jim.
“””In a gravel pit at Boxgrove, just outside Chichester, the remains of a man have been discovered, half a million years old.””
The remains of a man have been discovered. He is believed to have died 500,000 years ago.
The Brits just don’t speak proper English, do they?
It's been many many, moons since Old Ben studied Anthropology but -- I don't think gender can be determined from just those remains.
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Gender can be inferred from the size of bones.
But even with complete skeletons, sex estimates won't be 100% correct. With skulls alone, good bone folks can probably get in the low 90% range for a population.
Wow, what a great find!!
I thought this was about Frank Lautenberg.
I thought man had only been around for about 10,000 years.
It seems the only way to be 99.99% certain of sex is to have a complete pelvis of a female who has given birth.
(I suppose you could take that two ways...)
Weird, i had a midterm and i used Boxgrove man as an example for how early humanoids used climate change to their benefit. This find is actually fairly old, 1983-1996. They actually used faunal remains to date the stratigraphy. The main fossils were voles that due to their eagerness to adapt to climatic and terrestorial changes they make great analytic tools for dating sites that dont have associated charcoal deposits.
That form of dating, using something which appears for a short time, is said to rely on a "time stratigraphic marker." In the future, the removable pop-tops from beer cans will be an excellent example--widespread, narrow in time, and extremely durable!
Radiocarbon dating is only good back to about 50,000 years, so most fossil man finds have to be dated by other means.
I have a bunch of good radiocarbon links on my FR home page if anyone wants more details.
There's also could-be would-be and may-be...
There's also could-be would-be and may-be...
So you are going to correct experts in Pleistocene marker fauna on the basis of ... ?
(Meanwhile, elsewhere in East Anglia)
Theres pollen, beetles, macroflora all in incredible detail. The really important thing about the site is that theres not just one time window but a broad range of deposits covering from perhaps 10,000-120,000 years ago.
The finds are of much interest to researchers of the Ice Age, and those looking into the early colonisation of the British Isles, and have led to a study involving experts from the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain Project from the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, Queen Mary University, London, and NMAS.
Norfolk is blessed when it comes to the remains of woolly mammoths and the flora and fauna of the Ice Age, as Nigel explained:
Although we have not found any evidence of humans at the Saham Toney site, just three miles away downstream in the 1970s amateur archaeologists found three Neanderthal tools and in 2002, just seven kilometres away downstream, we found the remains of a dozen woolly mammoths and over fifty Neanderthal flint handaxes dated to about 60,000 years ago. Each of these sites are part of the bigger picture, part of the jigsaw.
Many parts of this jigsaw - including the remarkable 2002 discovery in a gravel pit at Lynford in which a dozen woolly mammoth skeletons were found with the remains of reindeer, woolly rhino, bison and over fifty Neanderthal flint handaxes - were unearthed by members of the public. The Lynford site turned out to be the best Neanderthal site ever discovered in the British Isles and is of international significance...
the 'experts' aren't convinced, why should I be? And there's nothing to 'correct' because of the experts' quite evident uncertainty...
bit cranky today, are we hmm?
The humankind descended from Adam have only been around for approx. 6000+ years. How long humankind have been on the planet is not covered in the Bible, if that’s what you’re trying to denigrate.
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