A fossil of a mother cradling a baby has been unearthed in Taiwan. While the 4,800-year-old find is ample proof of a strong maternal bond during the Stone Age, there’s a horrifying reason behind the loving embrace.
Archaeologists in Taiwan have unearthed a 4,800-year-old human fossil. The preserved remains are of a woman, most likely a mother, cradling an infant in her arms. Just by looking at the fossil, it becomes amply clear of the love the mother has for the child. The angle of the mother’s face implies she may not have been lovingly gazing at the child at the time of their death, but was holding it affectionately.
The remains are the earliest evidence of human activity in central Taiwan and archeologists are pretty excited about the find, shared Chu Whei-lee, a curator in the Anthropology Department at Taiwan’s National Museum of Natural Science.
“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.”
The fossil of the mother and child, which are undoubtedly the most striking discovery, was among 48 sets of remains found in caves which are located in the Taichung area, reported Reuters. Besides the mother and child, archeologists have also unearthed fossils of five children.
Researchers are stunned because these Stone Age relics, which are preserved in amazing detail, are the earliest sign of human activity found to date in central Taiwan. However, it is not the first time such neatly preserved remains, dating back thousands of years, have been discovered.
China has been increasingly discovering pre-historic settlements. Most notable is the archaeological site branded the “Pompeii of the East,” because of the amazing detail in which not just the people, but also other artifacts like utensils, jewelry, houses, and other features of the settlements, have remained frozen in time. Interestingly, it is at this site where Chinese archaeologists unearthed the interlocked skeletons of a mother and child. However, unlike the very early Stone Age, the discovery was from the Bronze Age.
Why was the mother cradling her child? While the embrace may appear to have been born from love, it could very well be a vain attempt at shielding the child from certain death which was just moments away. Photographs of the fossil indicate the mother is looking up above as she kneels on the floor, with her arms around her young child.
Archeologists note the mother may have been trying to protect her child during a powerful earthquake that hit Qinghai province in central China.
The fossil is believed to be about 4,800-years-old. It was the same time when the earthquake struck. It is quite likely that the mother and child, along with other members of the settlements, were caught unawares and before they could flee, were trapped under tons of dirt. Archeologists speculate the site, and its inhabitants, were hit not just by a powerful earthquake, but may have been caught in the flooding of the Yellow River. While organic soil often destroys remains, riverbeds often lack oxygen, which helps in the preservation. Archeologists have yet to confirm the changes that the terrain may have undergone in the last 5,000 years.
However, they have used carbon dating to determine the age of the mother-child fossil, and determined they lived during the Neolithic Age, a period within the Stone Age. According to the measurements of the fossils, the mother was about five-foot, two-inches tall, while the infant in her arms was about foot-and-a-half, reported News Oxy. While they cannot say for certain yet, archeologists believe the child may have been a boy.
[Image via YouTube Video Screen Grab]