Category Archives: AFRICA

1.5-Million-Year-Old Footprints Reveal Human Ancestor Walked Like Us

1.5-Million-Year-Old Footprints Reveal Human Ancestor Walked Like Us

Homo erectus last walked through the Earth for thousands of years, but our fossil ancestors likely had a few behaviours in common with humans today.

In a new study, researchers have examined a set of 1.5-million-year-old footprints discovered in Kenya, revealing new insight on how they moved and interacted.

The international team discovered that Homo erectus was able to go along in the same manner as modern humans and had human-like social behaviour, using innovative analytical techniques.

This 1.5-million-year-old footprint suggests that Homo erectus, an early human ancestor, had feet that were very similar to those of modern humans.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, along with an international team of scientists, investigated ancient hominin footprints discovered in 2009 near the town of Ileret, Kenya.

The continued efforts since the initial discovery revealed an unprecedented set of trace fossils, consisting of 97 tracks from at least 20 different individuals, all thought to be Homo erectus.

These were found over five distinct sites.

The researchers say the footprints are indistinguishable from those of a modern barefoot human, with similar foot anatomies and mechanics.

‘Our analyses of these footprints provide some of the only direct evidence to support the common assumption that at least one of our fossil relatives at 1.5 million years ago walked in much the same way as we do today,’ says Kevin Hatala, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and The George Washington University.

Habitual bipedal locomotion sets modern humans apart from other primates, and researchers have long debated the question of when this giant first emerged among hominins.

Determining these types of answers are difficult using traditional forms of paleoanthropological data, but the findings in Kenya and the use of new experimental techniques have provided a unique look at the locomotion patterns and social structures of Homo erectus.

The researchers also calculated body mass estimates based on the tracks, allowing them to infer the sexes of multiple individuals.

This revealed that there may have been several adult males at each of the sites, which suggests Homo erectus groups had developed some degree of tolerance and maybe even cooperation.

According to the researchers, this trait also separates modern humans from other primates.

‘It isn’t shocking that we find evidence of mutual tolerance and perhaps cooperation between makes in a hominin that lived 1.5 million years ago,’ says Hatala, ‘especially Homo erectus, but this is our first chance to see what appears to be a direct glimpse of this behavioural dynamic in deep time.’

The 200,000-year-old city found in Southern Africa may rewrite history

The 200,000-year-old city found in Southern Africa may rewrite history

In South Africa, about 150 km west of port Maputo, Mozambique, a giant stone city has been discovered. It became possible to determine the age of the site by measuring the erosion rate of the dolerite.

The 1500 square kilometer metropolis was believed to have been built between 160,000 and 200,000 years ago!

The ruins consist of huge stone circles, most of which are buried in the sand and can be seen only from the air or with the help of satellite imagery.

This ancient town is thought to be part of a larger network of 10,000 square kilometers. The organized nature of this ancient community and a road network connecting it to the terraced agriculture suggest that the metropolis was home to a highly advanced civilization.

The geology of the site is quite interesting too because of the numerous gold mines located in the area. According to researchers, this ancient civilization could have practiced gold mining.

What is quite curious, no one has ever wondered about the origin and the age of these stone circles before, despite the fact that local residents have encountered them multiple times.

In 2007, Michael Tellinger, researcher and writer passionate about human origins, and Johan Heine, a local fireman and pilot, decided to explore the site. Later, the results of their research inspired Tellinger to write a book titled Temples Of The African Gods.

According to Tellinger, the evidence they found suggests a completely different perspective on the history of humankind. 

According to the conventional version of human history, the first civilization on Earth was Sumer and emerged in southern Mesopotamia about 6000 years ago.

But what if there was another, earlier civilization that was then lost in the mists of time? “The photographs, artifacts and evidence we accumulated, point towards a lost civilization that has never before been and precedes all others – not for a few hundred years, or a few thousand years … but many thousands of years,” he said.

Tellinger believes that this ancient African metropolis is the oldest structure built by the human on Earth. In fact, he thinks that the Sumerians and the Egyptians inherited knowledge from this advanced civilization.

This hypothesis is based on the fact that there are carvings of the Egyptian Ankh on the rocks of the ancient city.

How could there possibly be an image of the Egyptian god thousands of years before the Egyptian civilization emerged? “These discoveries are so staggering that they will not be easily digested by the mainstream historical and archaeological fraternity, as we have already experienced. It will require a complete paradigm shift in how we view our human history,” Tellinger said.

Tellinger’s findings raise more questions than answers, but we can hope that this incredible ancient city will attract more researchers in the future and that one day more light will be shed on this lost civilization and the unknown aspects of human history in general.

Stone made of Pure Oxygen found in Africa

Stone made of Pure Oxygen found in Africa

In 1990 a strange type bluestone was found in Sierra Leone, West Africa by geologist and archeologist Angelo Pitoni, named the Sky stone (12000 BC).

The enigmatic stone was sent to research laboratories worldwide, The tests were carried out in laboratories of the University of Geneva, Rome, Utrecht, Tokyo, and Freiberg, Germany.

This was discovered in an old village outside of Freetown, Sierra Leone.

All experts agree that the bluestone isn’t similar to any type of rock known in nature so it must be artificial.

The Italian geologist believed that this is an extraordinary object: a strange crystal found in Sierra Leone diamond fields that resembles a pure turquoise similar to some found on the pectorals of Egyptian priests. Analyses performed on this “Stone of Heaven”, as he calls it, revealed that it is different from any other gemstone known to man.

Angelo Pitoni

This story continues with a trip to Asia during a rare gem and mineral sourcing trip by the American artist and designer, Jared Collins.

The dealer replied, “when I received several pieces of the stone, I too was thinking this story has no credibility, so just for the hell of it, I cut off a small sample from my larger piece and sent it over to Dr. Preeti at GRS Swisslabs to see what he had to say about it through testing. Dr. Preeti called me back to ask what this stuff was because he couldn’t determine its composition and ended up returning it as “unidentifiable.” Dr. Preeti only mentioned that he did not believe that the material itself was natural, but the element creating the blue color might be organic. – Jared Coins

In 2007, the National Geographic award-winning fine-art portrait photographer, Jared Collins, relocated his studio from New York City to Ubud, Bali where he set out to create a dramatic series of images documenting the most distinctive Balinese women adorned in ornate ceremonial costumes.

The actual sample of Sky Stone (above) submitted to GRS Swisslabs for testing and analysis.

Intrigued, but highly skeptical of the stone actually being anything it was claimed to be, Collins proposed to buy the small cutaway piece from the dealer so he could study it further, but the dealer just shrugged it off and refused to sell it.

He wouldn’t even name a price for the larger full stone. Collins was somewhat taken back by this as the dealer’s business was solely based on buying and selling stones, not collecting them.

As it turned out that night, Sky Stone was the only thing in the entire room not going to be made available for sale, and the only thing he was interested to take out of there. Collins ended up leaving Hong Kong with a haunting feeling that something important may have just slipped through his fingers and he never forgot about that bluestone.

Its composition was found to be composed of 77% oxygen, along with traces of carbon, silicon, calcium, and sodium.

The composition makes the “Sky Stone” similar to a kind of concrete or stucco and seems to have been artificially colored. The natives living in the area where the stone was found, already knew about its existence because this stone-like artifact used to pop out during the digging in the area.

Another mystery related to the stone of heaven is that this artifact is always found in soil layers dating to at least 12000 BC. The stone was certainly produced by an unknown, highly advanced civilization lost in time.”

Sky Stone material was also claimed to have made a brief appearance at the weekend market in Marakesh, Morroco (where they also specialize in meteorites.) It was going by the name of “kryptonite.”

‘Little Foot’ skull reveals how this more than 3 million-year-old human ancestor lived

‘Little Foot’ skull reveals how this more than 3 million-year-old human ancestor lived

High-resolution micro-CT scanning of the skull of the fossil specimen known as “Little Foot” has revealed some aspects of how this Australopithecus species used to live more than 3 million years ago.

Comparison of the nearly intact first cervical vertebra of ‘Little Foot’ and two other Australopithecus from Sterkfontein in South Africa and from Hadar in Ethiopia showing how to complete ‘Little Foot’ is as compared to the rest of the fossil record.

The ~3.67 million-year-old fossil specimen’s meticulous excavation cleaning and testing of the skull showed the most complete Australopithecus adult first cervical vertebra yet found.

A description of the vertebra by Wits University researchers Dr. Amélie Beaudet and the Sterkfontein team was published in the Scientific Reports.

Little Foot’s skeleton was first revealed in 2017.

The Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences, the International Palaeontological Trust, the National Research Foundation the University of the Witwatersrand and the French National Center for Scientific Research, through the French Institute of South Africa, support this research program.

The first cervical vertebra (or atlas) plays a crucial role in vertebrate biology. Besides acting as the connection between the head and the neck, the atlas also plays a role in how blood is supplied to the brain via the vertebral arteries.

By comparing the atlas of “Little Foot” with other fossils from South and East Africa as well as living humans and chimpanzees, the Wits University team shows that Australopithecus was capable of head movements that differ from modern humans.

“The morphology of the first cervical vertebra, or atlas, reflects multiple aspects of an organism’s life,” says Beaudet, the lead author of the study.

“In particular, the nearly complete atlas of ‘Little Foot’ has the potential to provide new insights into the evolution of head mobility and the arterial supply to the brain in the human lineage.”

The shape of the atlas determines the range of head motions while the size of the arteries passing through the vertebrae to the skull is useful for estimating blood flow supplying the brain.

“Our study shows that Australopithecus was capable of head movements that differ from us. This could be explained by the greater ability of Australopithecus to climb and move in the trees.

However, a southern African Australopithecus specimen younger than ‘Little Foot’ (probably younger by about 1 million years) may have partially lost this capacity and spent more time on the ground, like us today.”

The overall dimensions and shape of the atlas of “Little Foot” are similar to living chimpanzees. More specifically, the ligament insertions (that could be inferred from the presence and configuration of bony tubercles) and the morphology of the facet joints linking the head and the neck all suggest that “Little Foot” was moving regularly in trees.

Because “Little Foot” is so well-preserved, blood flow supply to the brain could also be estimated for the first time, using evidence from the skull and vertebrae.

These estimations demonstrate that blood flow, and thus the utilization of glucose by the brain was about three times lower than in living humans and closer to those of living chimpanzees.

“The low investment of energy into the brain of Australopithecus could be tentatively explained by a relatively small brain of the specimen (around 408cm3), a low-quality diet (low proportion of animal products) or high costs of other aspects of the biology of Australopithecus (such as upright walking). In any case, this might suggest that the human brain’s vascular system emerged much later in our history.”