Earliest known human burial discovered in Kenya

Scientists discover earliest child burial in Kenya |CPP|

Scientists have discovered oldest known human burial. A child who was 2 or 3 years old was discovered buried in a shallow grave under the sheltered overhang of a cave78,000 years ago, at a cave site called Panga ya Saidi near the Kenyan coast. They nicknamed the youngster ‘Mtoto,’ meaning ‘child’ in Swahili.

“This is at the root of the symbolic mind that characterizes Homo sapiens,” said anthropologist María Martinón-Torres, director of the National Research Center on Human Evolution (CENIEH) in Spain and lead author of the study published in the journal Nature.

“The child was buried in a residential site, close to where this community lived, evincing how intimately life and death are related. Only humans treat the dead with the same respect, consideration and even tenderness they treat the living. Even when we die, we continue to be someone for our group,” Martinón-Torres added.

“This would likely have been a group act, perhaps by members of the child’s family. All of these behaviors are, of course, very similar to those observed in our own species today, so we can relate to this act even though the burial dates to 78,000 years ago,” said study co-author Nicole Boivin, an archaeologist and director at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany.