Hu­mans may have col­o­nized Mada­gas­car later

The Asian Age - - Science + Health -

Wash­ing­ton, Oct. 11: New ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ev­i­dence from south­west Mada­gas­car re­vealed that modern hu­mans col­o­nized the is­land thou­sands of years later than pre­vi­ously thought. The study was con­ducted by the Aus­tralian Na­tional Univer­sity, Can­berra, Aus­tralia, and col­leagues. Mada­gas­car’s col­o­niza­tion is a key for trac­ing pre­his­toric hu­man dis­per­sal across the In­dian Ocean, but ex­actly when hu­man set­tle­ment be­gan in the is­land re­mains un­clear. Sev­eral pieces of ev­i­dence, in­clud­ing ar­chae­o­log­i­cal find­ings such as chert tools and char­coal, pro­vide a di­rect in­di­ca­tion of hu­man oc­cu­pa­tion in Mada­gas­car from about 1500 years be­fore present ( BP). How­ever, re­cent stud­ies have sug­gested mat the is­land’s early set­tlers made the first land­fall as early as 5000 years BF, based on in­di­rect ev­i­dence from an­i­mal bones with dam­age ( cut­mar­its) pre­sum­ably re­sult­ing from hu­man ac­tiv­ity. Atholl An­der­son, the lead re­searcher, and col­leagues re­vis­ited these bone col­lec­tions and ex­ca­vated three new sites in south­west Mada­gas­car to col­lect a larger sam­ple of an­i­mal bone ma­te­rial. They re­cov­ered 1,787 bones be­long­ing to ex­tinct megafauna, such as hippos, croc­o­diles gi­ant lemurs, gi­ant tor­toise, and ele­phant birds, dated be­tween 1900 BP and 1100 years BP. — ANI

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