ISHIGAKI, Okinawa Prefecture--A 24,000-year-old human bone fragment discovered in a cave on this island is the oldest among human remains found in Japan, researchers said Nov. 10.
The Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum said the piece of bone, excavated from the Shirahosaonetabaru cave, is believed to be part of a rib.
Using direct dating, the researchers concluded that the fragment is 4,000 years older than the previous oldest find in Japan.
Archaeologists at the University of Tokyo are using radiocarbon dating
to determine the age of the fragment from the Paleolithic Period (2 million B.C.-10,000 B.C.)
The researchers are studying about 300 pieces of human bone as well as animal bones, including one from a wild boar, found in the cave. The cave is located in a construction site for a new airport.
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