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First humans out of Africa to be showcased in 7 PH universities.

Byline: Camille Anne M. Arcilla

IT WAS once a known fact to paleoanthropologists that there were humans in Africa, with bigger brains and bodies and were equipped with advanced tool kits, who left the continents a million years ago. This belief continued to thrive on, until the Dmanisi hominids were discovered.

Excavated at Dmanisi, Georgia, an area at the crossroads of Africa, Asia and Europe, the early human skulls of Dmanisi contradicted the assumptions about first migrants out of Africa since the fossils found were already there 1.77 million years ago and were physically small in built (weight of 40-50 kilograms; height of 1.40-1.50 meters) and has smaller brains (cranial capacity of 543-775 cubic centimeters).

Stone tools

In addition, these pioneers possessed primitive stone tools such as cobble stone and flakes of Mode 1-type called Oldowan technology, as opposed to the well-developed ones the researchers expected.

With these findings, the Georgian National Museum, Crania Heritage Sciences Inc. and Cozoz Inc. launched the first event of Traveling Museum PH that will showcase the exhibit titled The First Humans Out of Africa: The Journey of Mankind at Ateneo de Manila University (Admu) on Feb. 9.

The exhibit, which aims to impart learning by interaction and discussion, will focus on telling the story of the distant past through the scientific materials and evidence from the early humans.

It will run for four weeks in each of the selected universities such as Admu, Jose Rizal University, University of Santo Tomas, University of the East, University of the Philippines Diliman, De La Salle University and National University.

Alternative content

We had to provide an alternative content to the youth and there's an interest in all sectors. We would like to make it interesting and relevant to the public, said Mylene Lising, Traveling Museum PH project director.

There will be lectures about Dmanisi titled The First Humans in Eurasia led by David Lordkipanidze, scientific head of the Dmanisi expedition and Georgian National Musuem director general, and a simulated archeological dig for an interactive museum experience.

Fossil skulls

The early fossil skulls put on exhibit are as follows: jaw D2600, found in 2000, which is unusually large with the teeth worn down to the roots; skull D2700 with associated jaw D2735, both found in 2001, which is a young adult with partially erupted molars (wisdom teeth); toothless skull D3444, found in 2002, and its associated mandible D3900, found in 2004, which is probably an adult female; and skull D4500, found in 2005, with jaw D2600, which is the most well-preserved cranium from that time period in the world.

The Dmanisi project is still ongoing. We still have more questions than answers, Lordkipanidze said. We excavated only a small part of size and we are anticipating many more.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Feb 13, 2016
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