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

By L. Backwell, R. Pickering, D.R. Brothwell, L. Berger, M. Witcomb, D. Martill, K.E.H. Penkman and Andrew S. Wilson

Abstract

NoUntil 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

Topics: Hyanea coprolites, ; Gladysvale cave, ; South Africa, ; Fossil hair
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.jas.2009.01.023
OAI identifier: oai:bradscholars.brad.ac.uk:10454/4610
Provided by: Bradford Scholars
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