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Skeleton may be Asia's oldest

Remains of modern human could be 37,000 years old, expert says

The skeleton found at the excavation site at Bulathsinhala in Kalutara The skeleton found at the excavation site at Bulathsinhala in Kalutara
  • ucanews.com reporter, Kalutara
  • Sri Lanka
  • June 21, 2012
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The skeleton of a prehistoric man discovered in a cave earlier this week is likely to be around 37,000 years old, according to archaeologists.

The remains of the "Balangoda Man"’ were discovered Sunday during an archaeological dig in Fa-Hien cave in Bulathsinhala, 60 kilometers from Colombo.

Balangoda Man was an anatomically modern human, believed to have first appeared in Sri Lanka up to 40,000 years ago.

If confirmed it would be the oldest complete modern human skeleton found in Asia

"We plan to have the remains carbon-dated by US experts in Florida,” said Dr Nimal Perera, deputy director general of the Archaeological Department.

“Further finds have included beads, weapons made from animal bone and tools made out of stone," he said.

Fa-Hien cave, named after a Chinese Buddhist monk who is said to have traveled to Sri Lanka between 399 and 412 to acquire Buddhist scriptures,  has produced a treasure trove of information on prehistoric man since Pleistocene human skeletal remains, and the remains of animals, were discovered in the 1960s and 1980s.

The cave has provided some of the earliest evidence that modern humans in South Asia settled and developed a culture in Sri Lanka around 40,000 years ago.
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