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Friday January 30, 2009

Early axes found in Perak

GEORGE TOWN: Evidence of human existence dating back 1.83 million years was uncovered at Bukit Bunuh in Lenggong, Perak recently.

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Centre for Archaeological Research Malaysia director Associate Prof Dr Mokhtar Saidin said hand-axes which were unearthed showed evidence of the early existence of Homo erectus in the South-East Asia region.

He said the previous prehistoric hand-axes found in Africa dated back 1.6 million years.

Prehistoric discovery: Dr Mokhtar Saidin holding up a hand-axe which was dated about 1.8 million years old over a boulder embedded with suevite layers in Penang Thursday.

“We found one of the hand-axes, made of quartzite rock, embedded in layers of suevite caused by meteorite impact.

“We sent part of the suevite to the Japan Geochronology Lab in Tokyo for fission track dating and the results showed that it dated about 1.83 million years,” he told a press conference.

He said his team did not find any human remains.

“Our next step is to carry out more studies and mapping and we hope to find human evidence,” he said.

Dr Mokhtar said it was possible that the findings challenged the prevailing “Out of Africa” theory, which holds that anatomically modern man first arose from one point in Africa and spread out around the globe.

He said the Bukit Bunuh archaeological site covered about four sq km, and the meteorite crater was about 4km in diameter.

USM Vice-Chancellor Tan Sri Prof Dzulkifli Abdul Razak described the discovery as “important and pertinent”, which could change the understanding about the mobility of early human beings in this region.