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Mossel Bay archaeological find shows "Modern Living"

by Selwyn Bergman
on 18 Oct 2007
Oceanography SA
Oceanography SA

A recent archaeological find in a coastal cave near Mossel Bay led experts to believe that primitive man showed some characterisctics of modern living as much as 164 000 years ago. It was commonly thought that primitive man only acquired these habits some 40 000 to 70 000 years ago.

Researchers discovered three indicators of modern life in a coastal cave at Pinnacle Point, which overlooks the Indian Ocean - harvested and cooked seafood; reddish pigment from ground rocks, presumably used for self decoration in a similar way that make-up is used today; and tiny blades presumably used to prepare the food. Dating techniques showed that the findings were from 164 000 years ago, plus or minus 12 000 years.

Chris Marean, Professor of Anthropology at the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University said: "the package looks like the archaeological record of a much later time period." He further stated that the find shows humans were eating seafood about 40 000 years earlier than previously thought.

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