Fossilized tooth found in west-central Iran dates from 100,000 years, minister says

January 5, 2021 - 21:44

TEHRAN – A fossilized tooth, previously found in a cave west-central Iran, could date back 100,000 years, the Iranian tourism minister said on Monday.

“Carbon-14 dating could not help estimate the age the Neanderthal tooth, which had been discovered in Qazvin’s Avaj [county]… so we got help from other countries that predicted its age is up to one hundred thousand years,” Ali-Asghar Mounesan said, Mehr reported.

Radiocarbon dating is [routinely] practiced for determining the age of an object containing organic material that ages up to 45,000 years… and the method was not effective for the Neanderthal tooth, he explained.

Last week, Mounesan attended the opening ceremony of a public show for the tooth, which was found years ago in Qal-e Kord Cave of Avaj county.

The organ has been examined in two laboratories in France and the United States, and the results of radiocarbon dating experiments show that it relates to the oldest-known Neanderthal civilization in Iran, according to Alireza Khazaeli, the provincial tourism chief.

In November 2018, the first season of the joint Iran-France archeological exploration led to the discovery of over 6,000 cultural pieces in the area. It also yielded bone remains of horse, deer, bear, and many stone tools belonging to the Middle Paleolithic period (between 200,000 up to 40,000 years ago).

A 2019 study published in the Journal of Human Evolution, suggests that Neanderthals were roaming at the Iranian Zagros Mountain sometimes between 40 to 70 thousand years ago.

Until the late 20th century, Neanderthals were regarded as genetically, morphologically, and behaviorally distinct from living humans. However, more recent discoveries about this well-preserved fossil Eurasian population have revealed an overlap between living and archaic humans.

AFM/

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