Fossil found in Iran cave part of ‘missing link’ in human migration: archaeologist

March 8, 2021 - 19:26

TEHRAN – A human fossil found in Kaldar cave, western Iran, is part of a “missing link” in Homo sapiens’ migrating, Iranian archaeologist Behrouz Bazgir has said.

“Given the handful of Homo sapiens human fossils so far revealed across the world, the discovery of human fossils not only in the Kaldar cave but anywhere in the world could reveal a large part of the missing link in the migration of intelligent humans,” CHTN quoted Bazgir as saying on Monday.  

The discovery was made during the third archaeological season conducted in Kaldar cave seeking to achieve the historiography of the Middle Paleolithic strata, and to obtain human fossils, the archaeologist explained.

He made the remarks during the 18th Annual Symposium on the Iranian Archaeology, jointly organized by the Iranian Center for Archaeological Research (ICAR), Research Institute of Cultural Heritage & Tourism (RICHT), and National Museum of Iran.

Nearly one decade of archaeological surveys at Kaldar cave has concluded that parts of this western Iranian shelter date more than 63,000 years.

Kaldar is a key archaeological site that provides evidence of the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in Iran. The cave is situated in the northern Khorramabad valley of Lorestan province and at an elevation of 1,290 m above sea level. It measures 16 meters long, 17 meters wide, and seven meters high.

In 2019, in one of the significant archaeological finds of Iranian history, the cave yielded fresh evidence for its Paleolithic residents; including traditions of making [stone] tools related to the Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic eras. In the same year, archaeologists excavated stone tools and a fragment of a fossilized skull, attributed to Homo sapiens. The cave has also yielded weapon fragments crafted by Neanderthals.

Excavations at the site in 2014–2015 led to the discovery of cultural remains generally associated with anatomically modern humans (AMHs) and evidence of a probable Neanderthal-made industry in the basal layers. It also offers an opportunity to study the technological differences between the Mousterian and the first Upper Paleolithic technologies as well as the human behavior in the region.

In taxonomy, Homo sapiens is the only extant human species. The name is Latin for “wise man” and was introduced in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus (who is himself also the type specimen). Neanderthals are an extinct species or subspecies of archaic humans in the genus Homo, who lived within Eurasia from circa 400,000 until 40,000 years ago.

Lorestan was inhabited by Iranian Indo-European peoples, including the Medes, c. 1000 BC. Cimmerians and Scythians intermittently ruled the region from about 700 to 625 BC. The Luristan Bronzes noted for their eclectic array of Assyrian, Babylonian, and Iranian artistic motifs, date from this turbulent period. The region was incorporated into the growing Achaemenid Empire in about 540 BC and successively was part of the Seleucid, Parthian, and Sasanid dynasties.

AFM/

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