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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Humans May Have Arrived on Madagascar 10,000 Years Ago

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Madagascar elephant birdsLONDON, ENGLAND—BBC News reports that the butchered bones of giant-sized elephant birds have been unearthed in Madagascar. Elephant birds are estimated to have stood about ten feet tall and weighed at least 1,000 pounds. The cut marks on the fossils suggest the birds had been butchered and eaten by humans some 10,000 years ago. James Hansford of the Zoological Society of London said the evidence pushes back the arrival of humans on the island by about 6,000 years, since it had been previously thought that humans first arrived on the island of Madagascar between 2,500 and 4,000 years ago. Elephant birds, which died out about 1,000 years ago, may have coexisted with humans for more than 9,000 years, but scientists do not yet know who the people who first arrived on Madagascar were or from where they originated. To read about earlier attempts to determine where Madagascar's settlers came from, go to “World Roundup.”

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