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Gazelle Bones Common Steele sifted through hundreds of fossil bones and shells, identifying 472 of them to species as well as recording cut marks and breaks indicating which ones had been food for humans. Among the other remains, Steele also identified hartebeests, wildebeests, zebras, buffalos, porcupines, hares, tortoises, freshwater molluscs, snakes and ostrich egg shells. "It really seemed like people were fond of hunting," she said.
The new excavation project -- led by Jean-Jacques Hublin of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and Abdelouahed Ben-Ncer of the National Institute for Archaeology and Heritage (INSAP) in Rabat, Morocco -- uncovered 16 new fossils along with stone tools and animal bones.
Leopard, hyena and other predators' fossils were among the finds, but Steele found little evidence that the nonhuman predators had gnawed on the gazelle and other prey.
Steele said the findings support the idea that Middle Stone Age began just over 300,000 years ago, and that important changes in modern human biology and behaviour were taking place across most of Africa then.
UC Davis anthropologist Teresa Steele studied animal bones from the site, showing that our ancestors ate lots of gazelle and other game as well as ostrich eggs. The site contains the oldest-known skeletons of modern humans.
UC Davis anthropologist Teresa Steele studied animal bones from the site, showing that our ancestors ate lots of gazelle and other game as well as ostrich eggs.
The remains comprise skulls, teeth, and long bones of at least 5 individuals.