The National Center for Research on Human Evolution (CENIEH), the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI-SHH) and the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) have collaborated on an investigation that describes the human burial more ancient from Africa .
It is about the remains of a child of about three years of age dating back 78,000 years excavated at the entrance of the cave of Panga ya Saidi (Kenya).
Panga ya Saidi
Panga ya Saidi is an archaeological cave located in Kilifi County, southeastern Kenya, about 15 km from the Indian Ocean in the Dzitsoni limestone hills. The cave site has rich archaeological deposits dating from the Middle Stone Age, the Later Stone Age, and the Iron Age. The excavated deposits preserve an unusually long record of human activities, from about 78,000 years ago to about 400 years ago.
The latter finding thus adds to the growing evidence on the early complex social behaviors of Homo sapiens . The first bone fragments were found in 2013, but it was not until the 2017 excavation that the cavity in which the body was found was completely exposed.
Microscopic analysis of the bones and the surrounding soil confirmed that, after being deposited in the cavity, the body had been covered with soil rapidly, thus protecting it from deterioration .
Two teeth, visible on the surface during the initial laboratory excavation of the sediment block at NMK, led researchers to suspect that the remains could be human. The work carried out by the CENIEH Dental Anthropology Group confirmed that the teeth belonged to a 2.5 to 3-year-old human child, who was later nicknamed "Mtoto", which means "child" in Swahili .