Archeologists have discovered stone tools in Mongolia that provide evidence for early human migration toward the region. It is believed that modern humans traversed the steppe around 45.000 years ago. This is around 10.000 years earlier than previously thought.
The site that revealed the stone tools might also be a place where homo sapiens interacted with Denisovans. Another human-like species that have become extinct. The excavations took place at 16 sites along the Tolbor River, which is between Siberia and Mongolia. The research team uncovered many stone artifacts. They soon learned that these objects were present by the thousands along the river.
Leap in technology
Stone tools were found that were produced systematically, almost standardized. The 826 stone blades offer some insight into the organization of homo sapiens in the region. Despite this, no human remains were found at the sites.
Scientists had to rule out Neanderthals and Denisovans as primary occupants of the site because the design of tools matches that of ancient humans. The dating of the tools and the site came back as a match for known homo sapiens movements throughout Siberia.
Dating the site
Two separate methods performed the date of the website. The sediment was analyzed by luminescence, and radiocarbon dating was performed on animal bones. Previous evidence suggested that modern humans were present in the region 10.000 years later.
This is based on the archeological find of a human skullcap in Mongolia. The object coincides with the 15.000 year anniversary of the date when it is believed humans migrated from Africa.
Meeting the Denisovans
Archeologists believe homo sapiens encounters the Denisovans then. These individuals were already local to the region by the time modern humans started to explore Siberia and Mongolia. Genetic studies show that crossbreeding between the species gave our ancestors the resistances to fight off altitude sickness in the Tibetan landscape.