Ancient Proof of Mother's Love Unearthed in Taiwan

4,800-year-old human fossil is of mother, baby
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2016 1:30 PM CDT
A screenshot from Reuters TV of mother and child.   (Reuters TV)

(Newser) – Archaeologists in Taiwan were "shocked" to unearth a 4,800-year-old human fossil of a mother cradling an infant in her arms. The discovery, among 48 sets of remains excavated from graves in the Taichung area, represents the earliest trace of human activity in central Taiwan, according to Reuters. "All of the archaeologists and staff members were shocked. Why? Because the mother was looking down at the baby in her hands," one researcher says. Researchers, who announced their findings from the year-long excavation Tuesday—"just in time for Mother's Day," CBS News notes—used carbon dating to figure out the age of the fossils, which include five children.

Delving further into the fossil record, a new analysis of a 500,000-year-old hominin femur bone suggests that early humans were a source of food for large carnivores, Tech Times reports. The bone, discovered in a cave in Morocco, "has numerous tooth marks showing that it had been consumed shortly after death by a large carnivore, probably a hyena," according to a study published Wednesday in Plos One. "Although encounters and confrontations between archaic humans and large predators of this time period in North Africa must have been common," the bone is one of the few bits of evidence we have that confirms hominin consumption by carnivores, says study author Camille Daujeard, per PhysOrg. Researchers couldn't determine whether the victim had been hunted or scavenged. (Read more discoveries stories.)

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