A 4,800-year-old fossil of a Neolithic mother cradling a baby was recently unearthed by archeologists in Taiwan.
Discovered in the Taichung area of Taiwan, this striking, prehistoric fossil was found with 48 other sets of remains. The excavation began in May of 2014 and proceeded over the course of a year.
Chu Whei-lee, a curator in the Anthropology Department at Taiwan's National Museum of Natural Science, described what it was like to find this special set of human remains:
When it was unearthed, all of the archaeologists and staff members were shocked. Why? Because the mother was looking down at the baby in her hands.
This discovery is of particular importance because these remains are
the earliest signs of human life found in the central region of Taiwan, the island nation off the east coast of China.
After the fossils were uncovered at the Ann He Road Ruin, carbon dating was used to determine their age.
The mother is believed to have been about 20 years old at the time of death. The gender of the child is still unknown. These fossils date back to the Neolithic period of the Stone Age. This time in prehistory, also known as the New Stone Age, is significant for the spread of agriculture practices and the use of polished stone tools. It is yet unknown how this mother and child might have died.
This incredible discovery is yet another reminder of how much we have yet to learn about human history. Though fossils like this unlock important information about our past, there is a limited fossil record that can only take us so far. With each new find, we are one link closer to putting together an infinitely large number of clues about our evolution as humans.
H/T Reuters, Huffington Post, CBS News