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Nature. 1998 Jun 4;393(6684):458-60.

A one-million-year-old Homo cranium from the Danakil (Afar) Depression of Eritrea.

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Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Firenze, Italy.


One of the most contentious topics in the study of human evolution is that of the time, place and mode of origin of Homo sapiens. The discovery in the Northern Danakil (Afar) Depression, Eritrea, of a well-preserved Homo cranium with a mixture of characters typical of H. erectus and H. sapiens contributes significantly to this debate. The cranium was found in a succession of fluvio-deltaic and lacustrine deposits and is associated with a rich mammalian fauna of early to early-middle Pleistocene age. A magnetostratigraphic survey indicates two reversed and two normal magnetozones. The layer in which the cranium was found is near the top of the lower normal magnetozone, which is identified as the Jaramillo subchron. Consequently, the human remains can be dated at approximately 1 million years before present.

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