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This unique stone bracelet dates back 40,000 years and is thought to have been made by a member of the Denisovan species of early humans. Museum of History and Culture of the Peoples of Siberia and the Far East in Novosibirsk. Image credit Vera Salnitskaya
The stone bracelet above was unearthed in the Altai region of Siberia in 2008. After detailed analysis Russian experts now believe its remarkable age of 40,000bce is correct. What is even more extraordinary is that the bracelet was not made by a member of Homo sapiens or Neanderthals but another species of humans known as the Denisovans –
It is intricately made with polished green stone and is thought to have adorned a very important woman or child on only special occasions. Yet this is no modern-day fashion accessory and is instead believed to be the oldest stone bracelet in the world, dating to as long ago as 40,000 years. Unearthed in the Altai region of Siberia in 2008, after detailed analysis Russian experts now accept its remarkable age as correct.
New pictures show this ancient piece of jewellery in its full glory with scientists concluding it was made by our prehistoric human ancestors, the Denisovans, and shows them to have been far more advanced than ever realised. ‘The bracelet is stunning – in bright sunlight it reflects the sun rays, at night by the fire it casts a deep shade of green,’ said Anatoly Derevyanko, Director of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in Novosibirsk, part of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Full article by Anna Liesowska in The Siberian Times here.
The Sylene stenophylla in bloom: Image credit Institute of Cell Biophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Though somewhat outside the remit of The Heritage Trust, we thought the Sky News’ report yesterday that, “…fruit and seeds hidden in an Ice Age squirrel’s burrow in Siberian permafrost have been resurrected into a flower by Russian scientists” worthy of a mention.
Using a pioneering experiment, the Sylene stenophylla has become the oldest plant ever to be regrown and it is fertile, producing white flowers and viable seeds. The seeds date back 30,000 to 32,000 years and raise hopes that iconic Ice Age mammals like the woolly mammoth could also eventually be resurrected.
The researchers, who published their findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the US, said the results prove that permafrost serves a natural depository for ancient life forms. “We consider it essential to continue permafrost studies in search of an ancient genetic pool, that of pre-existing life, which hypothetically has long since vanished from the earth’s surface,” the scientists said in the article. Canadian researchers had earlier regenerated some significantly younger plants from seeds found in burrows.
Svetlana Yashina of the Institute of Cell Biophysics of the Russian Academy Of Sciences, who led the regeneration effort, said the revived plant looked very similar to its modern version, which still grows in the same area in northeastern Siberia. The Russian research team recovered the fruit after investigating dozens of fossil burrows hidden in ice deposits on the right bank of the lower Kolyma River in northeastern Siberia. They were firmly cemented together and often totally filled with ice, making any water infiltration impossible – creating a natural freezing chamber fully isolated from the surface. The burrows were located 125ft (38m) below the present surface in layers containing bones of large mammals, such as mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, bison, horse and deer.
“The squirrels dug the frozen ground to build their burrows, which are about the size of a soccer ball, putting in hay first and then animal fur for a perfect storage chamber,” said Stanislav Gubin, one of the authors of the study, who spent years rummaging through the area for squirrel burrows. “It’s a natural cryobank. If we are lucky, we can find some frozen squirrel tissue,” said Mr Gubin. “And this path could lead us all the way to mammoth.”