World’s Oldest Child Found in Morocco

June 16, 2011

Dr. Harold Dibble and his excavation team at Smugglers’ Cave on the Atlantic Coast of Morocco found the skull of the “world’s oldest child.” Rigorous dating techniques have determined the age of the skull to be around 108,000 years old. Analysis of the teeth tells us that the boy died at around six years of age. Dr. Dibble named the child Bouchra, meaning “good news” in Arabic.

View of Smugglers' Cave

Smugglers’ Cave was first occupied around 110,000 years ago and primarily contains deposits from the Late Pleistocene through the early Holocene. The site of Smugglers’ Cave is important in the debate on the origins of modern humans. Not only is the site one of the few with modern human remains associated with stone and bone assemblages, it also yields advanced features including stemmed stone tools, bone tools, hearths, the use of ochre, and pierced shells.

Tonight (Thursday, July 16) at 8pm EST, Nat Geo is going to air a special doco on the topic. You can also watch a video snippet about the reconstruction of Bouchra’s head below.

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Flam, Faye (June 16, 2011) Penn team uncovers skeleton of ‘world’s oldest child’ The Philadelphia Inquirer