An ancient human tooth discovered by archaeologists in Georgia dates back 1.8 million years, firmly establishing the area as the site of one of the first prehistoric human settlements in Europe and potentially the world outside of Africa.
The tooth was found close to the village of Orozmani, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) southwest of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and close to Dmanisi, where in the late 1990s and early 2000s, 1.8 million-year-old human skulls were unearthed.
The Dmanisi findings revolutionised scientists’ perceptions of ancient human evolution and migration patterns because they were the oldest discovery of its kind made outside of Africa.
The most recent find at a location 20 km away adds to the growing body of evidence showing that the hilly south Caucasus region was probably one of the first places early people inhabited after leaving Africa, according to experts.
“Orozmani, together with Dmanisi, represents the centre of the oldest distribution of old humans – or early Homo – in the world outside Africa.” The tooth was discovered, according to the National Research Centre of Archaeology and Prehistory of Georgia.
The teeth, according to the research team’s leader Giorgi Bidzinashvili, belongs to a “relative” of Zezva and Mzia, two nearly entire 1.8-million-year-old fossilised skulls discovered at Dmanisi.
Speaking to the media about the discovery, the archaeology student Jack Peart who found the first found tooth said, “The implications, not just for this site, but for Georgia and the story of humans leaving Africa 1.8 million years ago are enormous.”
“It solidifies Georgia as a really important place for paleoanthropology and the human story in general.”
The world’s oldest Homo fossils, a partial jaw found in contemporary Ethiopia, date to about 2.8 million years ago.