400,000 Year Old Teeth Show Earliest Evidence of Man-Made Pollution

400,000 year old teeth

An international team of scientists have found the earliest evidence of man-made pollution in an unexpected place. An excavation of the Qesem cave near Tel Aviv yielded 400k year old teeth which contain the oldest evidence of an indoor BBQ and the man-made pollution which resulted.

The Cave has been sealed for over 200.000 years, therefore the teeth are exceptionally well preserved, even with the tartar still on them. Due to the lack of dental hygiene tartar accumulated on the teeth of our early ancestors.

The cave is 32ft deep and its surface area is approximately 3229ft squared. Scientists and Archaeologists have been painstakingly excavating it for some 15 years to discover remains going right back to prehistoric times. The ancient teeth were discovered by scientists from Tel Aviv University and other research institutions in the world.

Their examination revealed that the teeth belonged to a type of prehistoric man that lived in Israel, which until now no one knew existed. Science has always thought, until this find, that humans originated in Africa (Homo Sapiens) who developed there about 200,000 years ago. This new find re-writes the history books and questions how far back humanity may have originated.

Another species was the Neanderthal, who became extinct, and thought to have originated in Europe about 300,000 years ago. It is estimated that the teeth found in the cave in Israel belong to more ancient species of human, who was in fact the father of Homo sapiens and Neanderthals.

Researchers already know that the cave dwellers hunted, butchered and roasted animals. After analysis of the tartar it was also apparent that they had quite a well-balanced diet. This means our ancestors were aware that a range dietary sources must be consumed in sufficient quantities for optimal survival.

Evidence was also found or respiratory irritants trapped in the tartar. These include traces of charcoal which was no doubt the result of inhaling smoke from the indoor fires that they used for roasting. This is the first evidence that the world’s first indoor BBQ had health related consequences and environmental impact.

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