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February 2, 2022 9:49 am

1.5-Million-Year-Old Human Vertebra Uncovered in Israel’s Jordan Valley

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The Jordan Valley. Photo: Юкатан via Wikimedia Commons. – Israeli archeologists have discovered a 1.5-million-year-old human vertebra—the earliest evidence of an ancient human discovered in the country, according to a report published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal “Scientific Reports.”

The study was a joint project of researchers from Bar-Ilan University, Ono Academic College, the University of Tulsa and the Israel Antiquities Authority. The discovery helps prove that ancient human migration from Africa to Eurasia occurred in waves; the first reached the Republic of Georgia in the Caucasus approximately 1.8 million years ago and the second in Ubeidiya, in the Jordan Valley, 1.5 million years ago.

“The analysis we conducted shows that the vertebra from Ubeidiya belonged to a young individual 6-12 years old, who was tall for his age,” explained Professor Ella Been of Ono Academic College. “Had this child reached adulthood, he would have reached a height of over 180 centimeters (70.8 feet). This ancient human is similar in size to other large hominins found in East Africa and is different from the short-statured hominins that lived in Georgia.”

Ubeidiya is located near Kibbutz Beit Zera, south of the Sea of Galilee.

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“The prehistoric site of Ubeidiya is significant for archaeological and evolutionary studies because it is one of the few places that contain preserved remnants of the early human exodus from Africa,” a release by the researchers explained. “The site is the second-oldest archaeological site outside Africa.”

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