Dmanisi (paleoanthropology)

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Dmanisi (დმანისი in the Georgian language kartuli) is an archeological site in the Republic of Georgia in which hominid remains and tools have been found[1] dating from about 1.8 to 1.2 million years ago during the Early Age of the Pleistocene Epoch.[2]

The hominid remains are considered to be early human. They are the first discovered outside of Africa that show distinct similarities to Homo ergaster (Africa) but have also been interpreted as the earliest evidence of Homo erectus from the Eurasian continent.[3][4][5][6]

The Pleistocene site is located under the ruins of the medieval town of Dmanisi, an active trade center on the caravan routes for Byzantium, Armenia and Persia, about 85 km southwest of the Georgian capitol of Tbilisi.

Excavations were initially started in 1936. In 1984, stone tools were uncovered. Since then the site has become a prominent international research site.

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Dating

Absolute dating was estimated through the use of isotopic and paleomagnetic methods. Potassium-argon (K-Ar) and argon isotopes (40Ar/39Ar) analysis were employed to date basaltic rock layers beneath the fossils and artefacts as approximately 1.8 to 2.0 million years old. Similarly, magnetic readings that were correlated with the site at Oldavui Gorge (Tanzania) suggested a change in polarity that took place about 1.77 million years ago. Further study showed the fossils and artefacts were not embedded in the layers of basalt indicating that they were deposited after the oldest dates given for the basalt strata. [5]

Notes

  1. Lithic Assemblage Dmanisi Site
  2. History Dmanisi Site
  3. Dmanisi hominids Dmanisi Site
  4. Doubting Dmanisi Pat Shipman (2000) American Scientist On-Line. Vol. 88: 6 (p. 491). Note: A great deal of the debate around the species found at Dmanisi has focused on the disagreement on characteristics of various species of hominid. One interpretation now has it that Homo ergaster is shorthand for "the earliest part of the evolving ergaster/erectus lineage."
  5. 5.0 5.1 Earliest Pleistocene hominid cranial remains from Dmanisi, Republic of Georgia: Taxonomy, Geological Setting, and Age L. Gabunia, A. Vekua, D. Lordkipanidze, C.C. Swisher III, R. Ferring, A. Justus, M. Nioradze, M. Tvalrelidze, S.C. Anton, G. Bosinski, O. J`ris, M.A. de Lumley, G. Majsuradzs, and A. Muskhelishvili (2000). Summary of article appearing in Science vol. 288, pages 1019-1025. May 12, 2000
  6. Homo ergaster Steven Heslip, Michigan State University