The iron pipes range in size, with some smaller than a toothpick.The strangest part is that they may be about 150,000 years old.
Dating sites for scientists
Credit: Philipp Gunz, MPI EVA Leipzig (License: CC-BY-SA 2.0) An international research team led by Jean-Jacques Hublin of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany) and Abdelouahed Ben-Ncer of the National Institute for Archaeology and Heritage (INSAP, Rabat, Morocco) uncovered fossil bones of Homo sapiens along with stone tools and animal bones at Jebel Irhoud, Morocco.
The finds are dated to about 300 thousand years ago and represent the oldest securely dated fossil evidence of our own species.
This date is 100 thousand years earlier than the previous oldest Homo sapiens fossils.
The discoveries reported in two papers in the June 8th issue of the journal Nature by Hublin et al. reveal a complex evolutionary history of mankind that likely involved the entire African continent.
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Homo sapiens fossils from Jebel Irhoud (Morocco) based on micro computed tomographic scans of multiple original fossils.
Dated to 300 thousand years ago these early Homo sapiens already have a modern-looking face that falls within the variation of humans living today.
The amount of carbon-14 gradually decreases through radioactive beta decay with a half-life of 5,730 years.
So, scientists can estimate the age of the fossil by looking at the level of decay in its radioactive carbon.
The dating was done using thermoluminescence, a technique that determines how long ago crystalline mineral was exposed to sunlight or heated.