Ask the Archaeologist: Who was the first person to be born?
It's impossible to know who the first person to be born was, but what we do know is that man (or the ancestor of man rather!) appeared around 7.2 million years ago. Our 'direct' ancestor however, the Homo Sapiens appeared only about 315.000years ago. The oldest fossils discovered, consisting of skull fragments and a few other bones, were found in southern Morocco, on a site called Jebel Irhoud. From northern Africa, Homo Sapiens then made its way to Europe, and eventually came to England.
The oldest fossils discovered, consisting of skull fragments and a few other bones, were found in southern Morocco, on a site called Jebel Irhoud. From northern Africa, Homo Sapiens then made its way to Europe, and eventually came to England.
The oldest buried remains to have been found in the United Kingdom were discovered in Wales and are known as 'The Red Lady of Paviland'. The skeleton has now been identified as that of a male individual, who lived 33.000 years ago! He died very young, when he was between 21 and 25 years old. Studies of his bones have given us a lot of details about his life: he had a diet of fish mainly, suggesting he probably lived by the coast, but also ate reindeer, woolly rhinoceros and mammoth! England was very cold at the time and temperatures in the winter could go down to -20° so you can imagine it was a very hard life back then! Especially since people didn't have houses, they lived as nomads in temporary camps and shelters...
His is also the first 'ceremonial' burial recorded in the UK, which means he was buried with objects, such as jewellery and it seems his body was covered with ochre (which gave the bones a reddish colour). It's very important as it means he lived among other people, with his family perhaps, and they took great care of burying him when he died.
So you see , Andrew, I can't tell you exactly who the first man to be born was but archaeologists keep discovering new fossils and they keep looking for new information about the evolution of man and where we all came from!
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