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Probable human hair found in a fossil hyaena coprolite from Gladysvale cave, South Africa

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JournalJournal of archaeological science
DatePublished - Jun 2009
Issue number6
Volume36
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)1269-1276
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Until now, the oldest known human hair was from a 9000-year-old South American mummy. Here we report fossil hairs of probable human origin that exceed that age by about 200,000 years. The hairs have been discovered in a brown hyaena (Parahyaena brunnea) coprolite from Gladysvale cave in South Africa. The coprolite is part of a hyaena latrine preserved in calcified cave sediment dated between 195,000 and 257,000 years ago. This find supports the hypothesis that hyaenas accumulated some of the early hominin remains found in cave sites, and provides a new source of information on Pleistocene mammals in the Sterkfontein Valley. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • Fossil hair, Hyaena coprolites, Gladysvale cave, South Africa, ANCIENT HAIR

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