The First Humans in the Land of Israel

June 29, 2020 | Amanda Borschel-Dan
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In 2018, a pair of Israeli scientists published the results of their excavation of the Misliya cave at Mount Carmel, where they had found a skull belonging to a human who lived between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago. The discovery suggested that Homo sapiens not only developed earlier than generally assumed, but also left Africa sooner. In their subsequent research into other fossils found in the same cave, the scientists have concluded that these humans arrived during the Ice Age. Amanda Borschel-Dan writes:

According to a new study, . . . the discovery of fossils from rodents that are only adapted to cold environments—which were found in the same archaeological assemblage as the earliest known record of Homo sapiens outside of Africa—proves that those early modern humans arrived during an Ice Age and yet were able to thrive after leaving the cradle of humankind despite the drastically cooler temperatures.

The study’s authors say the analysis contradicts the [widely accepted] theory that the Ice Age delayed human migration between continents. This first sign of human adaptability displays the characteristics that would eventually lead to our species’ world domination, said the scientists.

The region is rife with indications of paleolithic settlement . . . and during ten years of excavations, along with the jawbone, the team uncovered some 60,000 flint tools, which span the human history of development from chunky primitive hand axes to purposefully knapped, lightweight, technologically advanced projectiles, and thin knives.

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