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Earliest evidence of humans in India found

The earliest evidence of humans in India has been found, dating back more than 74,000 years, about 15,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Newly discovered archaeological sites in southern and northern India have revealed how people lived before and after the colossal Toba volcanic eruption 74,000 years ago, according to Press Trust of India (PTI) on Tuesday.

The international and multidisciplinary research team, led by Oxford University in collaboration with Indian institutions, has uncovered what it calls ‘Pompeii-like excavations’ beneath the Toba ash.

The seven-year project examines the environment that humans lived in, their stone tools, as well as the plants and animal bones of the time.

“This suggests that human populations were present in India prior to 74,000 years ago, or about 15,000 years earlier than expected based on some genetic clocks,” said project director Michael Petraglia, Senior Research Fellow in the School of Archaeology at the University of Oxford.

The team has concluded that many forms of life survived he super-eruption, contrary to other research which has suggested significant animal extinctions and genetic bottlenecks.

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