Segments in this Video

Irhoud Man (05:27)


Emile Ennouchi studied the skull found in Morocco in the 1960s. Though it did not look like a regular Neanderthal, it was found with tools and carbon dated to that period. Ennouchi hypothesized about what it was but did not have an answer.

Questioning Irhoud Man (03:01)

Twenty years later, Jean-Jacques Hublin disputed the age and identity of Irhoud Man because of Homo Sapien-like remains found at the same site. Moroccan paleontologist Abdelouahed Ben-Ncer also questioned the ancient Homo Sapien-like remains.

Irhoud Excavations (04:58)

Discoveries in the Great Rift Valley confirmed Hublin and Ben-Ncer's suspicions about the age of the Irhoud remains. They formed an international team in 2004 to revisit the site and confirm the age.

Sediment Dating (05:53)

Dating specialist Daniel Richter hopes to date sediment and flint at the site to determine the age of the remains; he uses thermal luminescence dating. Richter places dosimeters on the site to measure radiation levels.

Marking Locations (02:35)

The team uses infrared lasers at Jebel Irhoud to determine the location of an object before removal. The data will be used to build a 3D model of the site before excavation.

Hunting at Irhoud (04:59)

The team finds numerous charred and cut animal bones, meaning they were eaten by the cave dwellers. The identification of over 30 species indicates the presence of an excellent hunter. The team also finds stone hunting tools from the Middle Stone Age.

Travel in Irhoud (05:56)

Evidence suggests that hunters traveled to a site about 30 kilometers away to find flint and make hunting tools. Researchers believe there could be other sites near Jebel Irhoud; the cave was likely a short-term hunting encampment.

Human Fossils at Irhoud (03:49)

In 2007, the team uncovered more humans remains—a femur, the frontal bone of a skull, and a mandible. The mandible is the best-preserved ancient Homo Sapien mandible ever found.

Homo Sapiens at Irhoud (02:23)

New discoveries verify that all the remains at Irhoud are Homo Sapien. Experts find 22 remains of the oldest Homo Sapiens ever found.

Family at Irhoud (05:10)

Experts identify five people; the ages range suggests a family structure. A 3D model helps eliminate the theory that it was a burial site. The team speculates that a cave-in killed the family.

Credits: Sapiens: The New Origins - Part 1 (00:59)

Credits: Sapiens: The New Origins - Part 1

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Sapiens: The New Origins - Part 1

Part of the Series : Sapiens: The New Origins
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In June 2017, a double publication in the distinguished journal “Nature” rocked the scientific world. The dating of the remains of five individuals found in Morocco, at about 315,000 years, pushes back the age of our species by 100,000 years. Advances in virtual paleontology have revealed new information about these remains, including a first skull found as early as 1960, but misinterpreted at the time. Jebel Irhoud in Morocco became the scene of one of the greatest scientific and human adventures of the 20th century. This discovery has thrown our views on the history of our species into disarray.

Length: 46 minutes

Item#: BVL274255

ISBN: 978-1-63722-561-5

Copyright date: ©2019

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