A team of archaeologists working for the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage and collaborators from Oxford University claim they found the world’s oldest human bone at an excavation site at Tayma in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. According to the researchers, the bone, which is the middle part of a middle finger, belonged to a human being who lived about 90,000 years ago.
This is the oldest human trace scientists have discovered so far. This also indicates that humans left Africa 30,000 years earlier than thought.
The excavation is part of the Green Arabia Project, a project that involves conducting environmental and archaeological research to many locations in Saudi Arabia by a team composed of researchers from Saudi and the UK.
Previously, scientists believed that humans left Africa about 60,000 years ago, which is 140,000 years after Homo sapiens came to life.
The oldest human bone could also help scientists determine the route our ancestors took when they left Africa. Currently, experts speculate that humans entered Eurasia using the route from Egypt and Sinai. On the other hand, some believe that they went through Arabia and Ethiopia instead.
Another research uncovered the world’s oldest human cancer. An international team of researchers claim that they found evidence of cancer and bony tumor, which date back 1.7 million years and 2 million years, respectively.
These were found in South Africa. The findings are available in the South African Journal of Science.
“The presence of a benign tumour in Australopithecus sediba is fascinating not only because it is found in the back, an extremely rare place for such a disease to manifest in modern humans, but also because it is found in a child,” says the study researcher Patrick Randolph-Quinney of Wits University and the University of Central Lancashire in the UK. “This, in fact, is the first evidence of such a disease in a young individual in the whole of the fossil human record.”