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Ancient human bone found in Ishigaki cave

Date Posted: 2011-12-02

Archaeologists are ecstatic as they study a 24,000-year-old human bone fragment thatís been discovered on Ishigaki Island in southern Okinawa Prefecture.

The Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum is among those poring over the bone piece found in the Shirahosaonetabaru cave. Officials believe the bone fragment is part of a rib. The boneís already been tested using direct dating, and scientists now say the latest bone discovery is 4,000 years older than any other bone found in Japan.

The testing, using radiocarbon dating, is being supervised by archaeologists at the University of Tokyo to determine the age of the piece from the Paleolithic Period which ran from 2 million B.C. to 10,000 B.C. Being studied are some 300 pieces of human bone, as well as animal bones, found in the cave. One piece was identified as being from a wild boar.

The cave is located in the construction site for a new Ishigaki Airport.

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