February 13th, 2009 in Breaking News

257,000 year old human hair found?

Human hair found in prehistoric hyena poop - Discovery.com- msnbc.com.

Hairs that likely belonged to humans living 195,000 to 257,000 years ago in Africa have been identified in fossilized brown hyena dung, according to a new study that describes the first non-bony material in the early human fossil record.

Until now, the oldest known human hairs were from a 9,000-year-old Chinchorro mummy from Arica, northern Chile. This latest discovery, made at Gladysvale cave, South Africa, exceeds the mummy’s age by about 200,000 years.

The findings, which have been accepted for publication in the Journal of Archaeological Science, further suggest that early humans faced tough competition from carnivores that either attacked the individuals outright, or scavenged on their dead.