Human burials that date back to the Middle Stone Age are extremely rare and are mainly found in Africa. Now, a new such body of a child is found that researchers say has been laying in rest for about 78,000 years and belongs to the Middle Stone Age.
The newfound burial from a cave of a 2-3 years child is the most recent clue to early human burials in East Africa. Pictures containing the virtual ideal reconstructure of the skeleton have surfaced on the internet.
The location of the newfound body of the kid, nick-named as Mtoto is Panga ya Saidi. What remains of the child’s body shows that it was carefully laid on one side, with chances are a pillow under his head.
The burial of Mtoto, as termed by the researchers was with intentional care that characterizes funerary behavior, in contrast to just placing the remains at a distance, getting rid of the dead body.
Maria Martinon, director of the National Research Center on Human Evolution in Burgos, Spain, and one of the initial authors of the report on the burial published Wednesday in the journal Nature, said that “the way that the skeleton had collapsed indicated that something was placed under the head of the child.”
As per the researcher, the Torso looks like if it was wrapped in a material that got dissolved with time, “something like big leaves, like plants or perhaps animal skin,” she said.
She said, “the covering, in addition to the digging of a pit and the apparent use of some sort of pillow for the head, proposes the involvement of the community in putting the child in this very specific position.”
“Humans are the only species that treat the dead with the same consideration, respect, and delicacy, and if we even say tenderness, that we dedicate to the living,” she said.
She said, “the scarcity of known burial sites in Africa is puzzling, and could be explained by the use of other practices for tending to the dead, or by a lack of sufficient scientific fieldwork, or because the cultural ritual of burial practice evolved in modern humans elsewhere and came later to Africa.”
The remains of the child’s body showed some dental characteristics not found in other human remains, proposing the idea that modern humans might have evolved in more than one part of Africa. Scientists are of the idea that small bands of people traveled and mixed with others, instead of in one particular place.