Human jawbone dating back 25,000 years is discovered in a cave on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, in breakthrough that could help unravel the mystery of how our ancestors moved between Asia and Australia 

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  • A 25,000-year-old human jaw bone has been discovered in Indonesia
  • Remains found in a cave on the world’s eleventh largest island, Sulawesi
  • First fossil evidence of modern humans from the Pleistocene epoch on Sulawesi
  • How our ancestors moved between Asia and Australia may solve the mystery

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The discovery of a 25,000-year-old human jaw may help unravel the mystery of how our ancestors migrated between Asia and Australia.

Researchers said it was found in a cave on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and belonged to an elderly man of unknown age and sex who had small teeth.

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The jaw is the first fossil evidence of modern human remains of the Pleistocene era, found on the world’s eleventh largest island, Sulawesi.

It is part of a geographic transition zone called Wallacea, which lies between the edge of the Southeast Asian continental shelf (Sunda) and the ancient ‘super-continent’ of Sahul.

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The plumb emerged during the last ice age when global sea levels fell, eroding the shallow sea strait dividing mainland Australia from New Guinea and exposing a land bridge.

The discovery of a human jaw bone (pictured) dating back 25,000 years may help unravel the mystery of how our ancestors moved between Asia and Australia

Researchers said it was found in a cave on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and belonged to an elderly man of unknown age and sex who had small teeth.

Researchers said it was found in a cave on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and belonged to an elderly man of unknown age and sex who had small teeth.

Experts say that Sulawesi, which is one of the ‘Wallace Islands’, is an important place to help understand how humans first arrived in the Wallacea region and then moved between the islands.

‘The first modern humans to reach Sulawesi produced some of the oldest known dated rock art, yet the knowledge of the origins and cultural life of these Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers’ said researchers from Griffith University, the Australian National University and the University of Queensland said. There is very little information. written in his paper.

He said ‘jaw’gives us the first direct fossil insight into the identity of these ancient forest dwellers, and its unusual tooth wear and oral pathology provide tantalizing clues on how they adapted to their rainforest environment.’

They said the person experienced poor dental health and had no teeth other than their molars.

This may have been due to their loss after death, although none of them were recovered during the excavations, the researchers said.

The remains were found in the Ling Bulu Bettu cave, and the authors state that it is possible that the individual They were related to the population responsible for one of the world’s oldest known rock art traditions.

He also said that the new discovery suggests that early modern humans were present in an area that may have hosted many species of ancient humans.

It is possible the Denisovans and the first modern humans (the ancestors of today’s Indigenous Australians and Papuans) originated in Wallacea.

The person experienced poor dental health and had no teeth other than their molars, the researchers said.

The person experienced poor dental health and had no teeth other than their molars, the researchers said.

It is believed that the islands of Wallacea, including Indonesia, were important in aiding the spread of humans.  This image shows the Sahul and Sunda continents during both the present day and the Ice Age

It is believed that the islands of Wallacea, including Indonesia, were important in aiding the spread of humans. This image shows the Sahul and Sunda continents during both the present day and the Ice Age

Remains found in Ling Bulu Betu Cave

The researchers said it is possible that the individual is related to a population responsible for one of the world's oldest known rock art traditions.

The remains were found in the Leung Bulu Betu cave (pictured), and the authors said it was possible that the individual was related to a population responsible for one of the world’s oldest known rock art traditions.

These ancestors likely entered Wallacea after spreading from Eurasia to Oceania about 65,000 years ago. The Wallace Islands were acting as a ‘stepping stone’ in this journey before reaching Oceania about 50,000 years ago.

Many different models of migration through the region have been hypothesized, and although the researchers say their finding may fit with theirs, it will not provide a definitive answer on which one is correct.

One such theory is that Australo-Melanesians – direct ancestors of modern-day Aboriginal Australians and Papuans – colonized Wallacea in the Late Pleistocene.

This gave rise to localized island populations that remained genetically and culturally isolated for thousands of years until the arrival of East Asian farmers in the middle Holocene.

Wallacea has relatively few Late Pleistocene sites for our ancestors, with only one island – Alor in the southeastern part of the archipelago – providing skeletal evidence for pre-Holocene modern humans.

The researchers said more fieldwork needs to be done in this area to further unravel the cultural and biological history of modern humans.

The study has been published in the journal one more.

What do we know about mankind’s journey out of Africa?

traditional view

The traditional ‘Out of Africa’ model suggests that modern humans evolved in Africa and then migrated in a single wave about 60,000 years ago.

The model often holds, once modern humans left the continent, a brief period of interaction with Neanderthals occurred.

This explains why individuals of European and Asian heritage still possess ancient human DNA today.

There are several theories behind the decline of Neanderthals.

Experts have suggested that early humans may have taken tropical diseases with them from Africa, which wiped out their ape-like cousins.

Others claim that falling temperatures caused by climate change wiped out the Neanderthals.

The leading theory is that early humans killed Neanderthals through competition for food and habitat.

How the story is changing in light of new research

Recent findings suggest that the ‘out of Africa’ theory does not tell the full story of our ancestors.

Instead, several, smaller movements of humans from Africa that began 120,000 years ago were followed by a major migration 60,000 years ago.

Much of our DNA is composed of this latter group, but earlier migrations, also known as ‘dispersal’, are still evident.

This explains recent studies of early human remains that have been found here…

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