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J Hum Evol. 2002 Jul;43(1):43-56.

New evidence for hominid presence in the Lower Pleistocene of the Southern Levant.

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Department of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology, Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.


The site of 'Ubeidiya is located in the Jordan Valley, Israel and has been biochronologically dated to 1.5 m.y.a. It exhibits large lithic and faunal assemblages. Previous published hominid material includes a molar (UB 1701) and I(2) (UB 1700). A recent review of the faunal material from previous excavations has revealed a highly worn hominid right lateral lower incisor (UB 335). The tooth was found in situ in the Lower Pleistocene deposits of stratum I-26a, which is comprised of sand and conglomerates of flint, limestone and basalt indicative of a pebbled lakeshore environment. Taphonomic analysis of the macromammal assemblage indicates high-energy fluvial transport. Paleoecological reconstruction suggests a large woodland fauna with a small percent of open steppe species.UB 335 did not differ significantly from the Lower Pleistocene hominid and modern populations but did differ significantly from all other fossil populations. Two-tailed Student t -test and single classification Model II ANOVA of the buccolingual diameter did not distinguish between Lower Pleistocene species: Homo habilis, H. ergaster and H. cf. erectus. Thus, UB 335 can be identified as a Lower Pleistocene hominid although it cannot be securely assigned to any particular species within that time frame. The current date of the 'Ubeidiya deposits and the location of the site within the Levantine corridor suggests a tenative identification as H. ergaster.

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