Archaeologists Find 1.8 Million-Year-Old Human Tooth Near Georgian Village—Among Oldest Human Remains on Earth

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Archaeologists in Georgia have found a 1.8 million-year-old tooth belonging to an early human, which they say cements the region as the home of one of the earliest prehistoric human settlements in Europe, possibly anywhere outside Africa.

The tooth was discovered near the village of Orozmani, around 62 miles (100 km) southwest of the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, near Dmanisi, where human skulls dated to 1.8 million years old were found in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The Dmanisi finds were the oldest such discovery anywhere in the world outside Africa, and one that changed scientists’ understanding of early human evolution and migration patterns.

The latest discovery at a site 12 miles (20 km) away provides yet more evidence that the mountainous south Caucasus area was likely one of the first places early humans settled after migrating out of Africa, experts said.

Epoch Times Photo
Giorgi Bidzinashvili, an archaeologist and the dig team’s scientific leader, demonstrates a tooth belonging to an early species of human, which was recovered from rock layers presumably dated to 1.8 million years old, near an excavation site in Dmanisi outside the village of Orozmani, Georgia, Sept. 8, 2022. (Reuters/David Chkhikvishvili)

“Orozmani, together with Dmanisi, represents the center of the oldest distribution of old humans—or early homo—in the world outside Africa,” the National Research Centre of Archaeology and Prehistory of Georgia said, announcing the discovery of the tooth in September.

Giorgi Bidzinashvili, the leader of the dig team, said he thinks the tooth belonged to a “cousin” of Zezva and Mzia, the names given to two near-complete 1.8 million-year-old fossilized skulls found at Dmanisi.

“The implications, not just for this site, but for Georgia and the story of humans leaving Africa 1.8 million years ago are enormous,” said British archaeology student Jack Peart, who first found the tooth at Orozmani.

Epoch Times Photo
Archaeologists work at a dig site following the discovery of a tooth belonging to an early species of human, which was recovered from rock layers presumably dated to 1.8 million years old, near an excavation site in Dmanisi outside the village of Orozmani, Georgia, Sept. 8, 2022. (Reuters/David Chkhikvishvili)
Epoch Times Photo
(Left) Giorgi Bidzinashvili, an archaeologist and the dig team’s scientific leader, demonstrates a tooth belonging to an early species of human, which was recovered from rock layers presumably dated to 1.8 million years old; (Right) Journalists and archaeologists gather at a dig site following the discovery of a tooth belonging to an early species of human. (Reuters/David Chkhikvishvili)

“It solidifies Georgia as a really important place for paleoanthropology and the human story in general.”

The oldest human fossil found anywhere in the world dates to around 2.8 million years ago—a partial jaw discovered in modern-day Ethiopia.

Scientists believe early humans, a hunter-gatherer species named homo erectus, likely started migrating out of Africa around 2 million years ago. Ancient tools dated to around 2.1 million years back have been discovered in modern-day China, but the Georgian sites are home to the oldest remains of early humans yet recovered outside Africa.

Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.

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