A joint team of researchers and scientists in geology and archeology from several universities, using advanced techniques in geological analysis, confirmed that the Wonder werk Cave in the Kalahari Desert, South Africa; It is the oldest place on earth where ancient humans lived two million years ago.
Scientists found in the cave numerous evidence indicating that the oldest known and confirmed use of fire dates back to more than a million years, and that ancient humans made stone tools 1.8 million years ago, then moved to stone axes more than a million years ago. Read also Inside a cave in California … the first evidence of humans eating hallucinogenic plants Ten thousand years ago, Central Asia was the source of the world’s first cultivated rice Scientists rule out knowledge of a unique point in time and space for the emergence of the human race20,000-year-old footprints change our ideas about ancient human behavior
Miracle Cave reveals its secrets
This series of discoveries came – or rather confirmations – as part of a scientific project to study the “Wanderrick” cave (which means miracle in the South African language), which is one of the rare places in the world that keeps a record of its geological history spanning millions of years; This makes it a valuable geological treasure for studying the ancient geological ages and the evolution of humans on Earth.
Scientists from the University of Toronto and the European Center for Research and Education in Geological and Environmental Sciences published the results of the latest study in the Quaternary Science Reviews, which specializes in research and studies related to the quadruple geological age spanning from 2.5 million years to the present day.
The study indicated that the length of this cave is more than 140 meters, and scientists have been studying it for a long time, where they found stone tools and other traces of human activity, but they did not find any human remains.
The reason may be the easy access of predators and animals that eat corpses to the cave, and this cave remained a place of residence for a long period of time, as scientists found in it traces of about a million years old for the use of fire, and that the location of the flame of fire is at least 30 from the entrance to the cave. Meters.
Fire and simple tools
By studying the geological history of a deep layer of the cave, scientists were able to determine the transition of ancient humans from simple stone tools that were rocks and flakes beveled 1.8 million years ago to stone axes with a distinctive triangular shape more than a million years ago.
Scientists were also able to confirm that the ancient man knew and deliberately used fire more than a million years ago, a discovery that acquires great importance because other traces of the oldest human use of fire were found in open places, which surrounded it with a great deal of suspicion in the inability to exclude that it was These effects are due to the occurrence of fires or natural factors.
As for the “miracle” cave, it is more like a whole log containing the remains of ignition, such as burnt bones, sediments, tools and remaining ash.
Study challenges and methods
One of the biggest challenges facing human evolution scientists is analyzing the geological history of cave sediments.
To overcome this difficulty, the team analyzed a thick sedimentary layer 2.5 meters wide, containing stone tools, animal remains, and ignition residues, using two methods: studying the magnetic fingerprint of the material and the history of the burial. Researchers removed hundreds of tiny samples of sediment from the walls of the cave, and measured their magnetic signals. . Advertising
It is worth noting that magnetization occurs when particles of clay or dirt that entered the cave from the outside settle on the cave floor in prehistoric times, and then maintain the direction of the magnetic field of the earth at that time.
The scientists say that the laboratory analysis revealed that the magnetism of some samples points to the south instead of the north, which is the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field at the current time.
And because the precise timing of these “magnetic fluctuations” is known to all, this helped them determine the entire historical sequence of sedimentary layers in the walls and floors of the cave.
Confirm the results of the study
Archaeologists and geologists have been studying the miracle cave since 2004, and in 2008 a team of archaeologists headed by Michael Chazan of the University of Toronto concluded that the tools found in the cave are about two million years old, and this in itself is not unique or new. ; Because archaeologists have previously discovered tools that are 2.6 million years old, and others that are 3.4 million years old, but they have not discovered in any cave such a large number of ancient artifacts.
Many experts questioned the conclusions of the Chazan team, so Michael Chazan formed another team of scientists to conduct a new detailed study of the layers of the cave, which resulted in the age of the artifacts found in Wanderrick Cave ranging between 1.77 and 1.93 million years, and that these tools were manufactured in The cave itself, not washed away by the water from elsewhere
To confirm the results of the study, the researchers used a second method to determine the history of ancient human habitation in this cave, which is based on the fact that quartz particles in the sand contain an automatic geological clock that begins to count when entering the cave. By measuring the concentrations of certain isotopes in these particles, scientists were able to determine the time that the sand grains spent in the cave.
The confirmation of the antiquity of human activity in the cave of the “miracle” has far-reaching consequences in understanding the rhythm or speed of ancient human activities on the African continent, studying the link between the history of ancient humans and climate change and studying the lifestyle of ancient humans who lived on Earth before modern or modern humans.