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Oldest Human Hairs Found in Hyena Dung Fossil

Posted by admin on May 15, 2009

The oldest known human hair belonged to a 9,000-year-old mummy disinterred from an ancient Chilean cemetery.

Until now. A recent discovery pushes the record back some 200,000 years. (And the newly discovered strands received a rather less dignified burial.)

While excavating in Gladysvale Cave, near Johannesburg, South Africa, a team of researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand discovered an ancient brown-hyena latrine. Upon inspection, hyena coprolites — fossilized dung — appeared to contain uncannily hair-like structures.

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