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Saturday, 24 October 2009 20:00

Humans may call Karonga home

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According to a German-led excavation in the northern part of the African country of Malawi, in a township called Karonga, ancient evidence has been uncovered that may point to that area as to where humans originated.


Karonga is a township in the northern part of the country of Malawi, which is located near the border shared with the country of Tanzania.

The township is located, along the western shore of Lake Nyasa, about 380 miles (615 kilometers) north of the capital city of Lilongwe.

Malawi, formally called the Republic of Malawi, is a country in the southeastern part of Africa.

German paleoanthropologist Friedemann Schrenk, from Goethe University in Frankfurt, leads an excavation project near Karonga of European and African researchers.

In September 2009, two of Schrenk’s students discovered prehistoric tools near Karonga, along with a tooth of a hominid (a member of the family “Hominidae, or “great apes," which also includes humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, and their ancestors), about six miles (ten kilometers) outside of Karonga.

Within the southern part of the Great Rift Valley of eastern Africa, the Karonga area may be what Dr. Friedemann Schrenk calls “the cradle of humankind.”

Schrenk states, "This latest discovery of prehistoric tools and remains of hominids provides additional proof to the theory that the Great Rift Valley of Africa and perhaps the excavation site near Karonga can be considered the cradle of humankind.” [Reuters/NewsDaily.com: “Malawi could be the cradle of humankind,” October 23, 2009]

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The site near Karonga also contains relics from some of earliest ancestors of modern mammals ever found on Earth (from 260 to 230 million years ago).

It also contains some of the earliest mammals and dinosaurs ever found, with some of them living about 140 to 100 million years ago.

The hominids found at the site are thought to have lived around one to six million years ago.

In fact, according to the October 1, 2009 article, by the General Information Center Pretoria, titled International Field School on Hominid Evolution in Africa held in Malawi, “The oldest remains of the genus Homo ever found, 2.5 million years old, were discovered there in the nineties by Prof. Friedemann Schrenk of the University of Frankfurt.”

The extinct species is called Homo rudolfensis, presumed to be the oldest species to be discovered and verified within the scientific community within the genus Homo.

For additional information on human evolution, check out the Archaeologyinfo.com website "The New Face of Human Evolution."

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