The bones of an ancient man who lived in our area until about 130,000 years ago were discovered in excavations at the prehistoric site “Nesher Ramla”
Researchers from Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University have identified a new type of ancient man at the Nesher Ramla site, who lived in Israel until 130,000 years ago. According to the researchers, the morphology of the human type “Eagle Ramla” is a general morphology, and it shares features both with the Neanderthals (mainly in the teeth and jaw) and with older humans such as Homo erectus (mainly in the skull). At the same time, it is very different from modern man – the structure of the skull is completely different, it has no chin and the teeth are very large. Following the findings of the study, the researchers believe that the ancient human group “Nesher Ramla” is the origin population from which most human populations in the Middle Pleistocene evolved, including the Neanderthals from Europe, and they mated with Homo sapiens who arrived in the area 200,000 years ago. .
Behind the exciting discovery, published in the prestigious journal Science, are two research teams: an anthropological team led by Prof. Israel Hershkovitz, Dr. Hila May and Dr. Rachel Sarig of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine , Dan David Center for Human History Research and the Shmonis Institute of Anthropology, Sitting at the Steinhardt Museum of Nature at Tel Aviv University, and an archeological team led by Dr. Yossi Zeidner of the Institute of Archeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The excavations at the site were conducted by the Zinman Institute of Archeology, University of Haifa.
The “new” ancient man
“The scientific importance of finding a new type of human allows us to put the fossil world in order, put together another piece in the puzzle of ancient human evolution and understand the journeys he went through around the old world,” says Prof. Hershkovitz. “The” Nesher Ramla “human type is the bridge between the Asian and European populations in the Middle Pleistocene and shows that some of the fossils of the time classified into different species are in fact local geographical orientations of the same group – the Nesher Ramla group.”
The human fossil was discovered by Dr. Zeidner of the Hebrew University in rescue excavations conducted at the prehistoric site “Nesher Ramla”. This site is located in the mining area of the Nesher cement plant (owned by Len Belvatnik) near the city of Ramla. Many animals such as horses, donkeys and wild bulls, stone tools as well as human bones. Among the bones were also the bones of the “new” ancient man. Was known to science.This is the first type of person defined in the country, and as is customary, the new person was named based on the place of his discovery – “person type Nesher Ramla”.
Dr. Zeidner further noted that “the discovery is extraordinary, we did not imagine that alongside the ancient Homo sapiens, another group of people roamed here who survived to such a late stage in human history. If so far there have not been enough findings regarding this type of person, now a window is opened for us to know more about his lifestyle and culture that were very close to those of Homo spines. “Findings regarding his lifestyle, culture and cultural connections between” Adam Nesher Ramla ” They too are today in the scientific journal Science in a parallel article.
Prof. Hershkovitz adds that the discovery of the ancient man “Nesher Ramla” challenges the accepted view that Neanderthal man originated in Europe. “Until the new findings were revealed, most researchers believed that the Neanderthals were a ‘European story’, with small groups of them having to migrate south with the spread of glaciers in Europe and even arriving in Israel about 70,000 years ago. The man from Nesher Ramla challenges this theory. “Neanderthals in Europe lived in Israel about 400,000 years ago, and from here they migrated (in repeated migrations) west to Europe and east to Asia. The famous Neanderthals of Western Europe are nothing but the remnants of a much larger population living here in the Levant – and not the other way around.”
According to Dr. May, although unfortunately no DNA has been preserved in the Ramla fossil fossil, the findings could offer a solution to a very big question in human history: how Homo sapiens genes entered the Neanderthal population living in Europe long before Homo sapiens arrived there. In previous studies geneticists studying the DNA of Neanderthals in Europe assumed the existence of a Neanderthal-like population, which they called the “missing population” or “X population”, which mated with the Homo sapiens population at least 100,000 years ago, and its descendants migrated to Europe. -Science, the researchers claim that the person from “Nesher Ramla” represents the same population that is missing in the human fossil evidence. Moreover, the researchers claim that the person from “Nesher Ramla” is not a single find in our area, Like the human fossils from the Tabun Cave that are about 160,000 years old,
The Land of Israel as a melting pot in the old world
“People think in paradigms,” explains Dr. Sarig, “so to this day attempts have been made to associate these fossils with known human groups such as Homo sapiens, Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis or Neanderthals, and now we come and say: No – they are a group in themselves with characteristics And special markers. At a later stage small groups of the Nesher Ramle human type also migrated to Europe (in interglacial periods) – where they are known as pre-Neanderthals, and evolved, over time, to become the ‘classic Neanderthals’ we know. Similarly, the archaic Asian populations that carry Neanderthal characteristics (and were considered an evolution from the local Homo erectus) are probably the descendants of populations that migrated from our region (human type Nesher Ramla) eastward towards Asia. Being a crossroads between Africa, Europe and Asia, the Land of Israel was a melting pot in which the various human populations mingled with each other and spread throughout the Old World.
Dr. Sarig believes that this discovery of a new type of man with primordial (archaic) and Neanderthal features, with similarities to fossils from both Europe and East Asia, will lead to the history of Neanderthals being studied differently. More, European-Asian, where the Levant is the starting point or connection point between the two continents.
“The discovery from the Nesher Ramla site writes a new and fascinating chapter in the story of human evolution,” says Dr. Sarig. “A common perception among anthropologists,” says Prof. Hershkovitz, is that “the past changes (according to the findings), only the future is certain.”
Provided by Tel Aviv University