Dating in malawi

Attempts to date them using radiocarbon were unsuccessful, however, until the third try.

That’s when the female skeleton revealed her secret: She was 8,100 years old.

dating in malawi-72

Anthropologists have found the oldest known DNA from Africa in the highlands of northern Malawi.

When anthropologist Jessica Thompson attended a human origins conference years ago, she heard a presenter lament: “Of course, there is no ancient DNA from Africa because of the poor preservation there.” That’s when something clicked in her mind: In 2005, she had visited Malawi, a place in Africa that had neither extremes of heat or wetness—two main environmental factors that degrade DNA.

paper ranges in age from 3,000-to-500 years ago and comes from South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya.

“Malawi is positioned in between where living hunter-gatherers survive,” Thompson says.

Some of this population may have survived until much more recently.

“There are legends in Malawi of the original people who came there, passed down through oral histories,” Thompson says.The archaeological sediments suggest that Fingira was a place where the dead were buried, although the skeletal material has become scattered over time.Human bones are mixed with the bones of animals that they hunted and ate, and stone tools and shell beads that were used for ornaments.Two digs in the Malawi highlands—in 19—revealed human skeletons alongside rich cultural evidence of an extinct hunting-and-gathering lifeway. The skeletons had been taken out of the country, to the Livingstone Museum in Zambia, and were never dated.“It was impossible to accurately do radiocarbon dating on bone in 1950,” Thompson says.“For the first time, we can see the distribution of ancient hunter-gatherer DNA across Africa, showing how these populations were connected in the past.” Ancient hunter-gatherers don’t have a lot of living representatives in Africa today, and they occur as remnants of people scattered across the continent.

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