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Oldest Human Hair Discovered In Fossilized Poop

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the near-the-top-of-the-food-chain dept.

Science 50

goran72 writes "A new study has suggested that strands discovered in fossil hyena poop found in a South African cave could be the oldest-known human hairs. According to a report in National Geographic News, researchers discovered the rock-hard hyena dung near the Sterkfontein caves, where many early human ancestor fossils have been found."

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50 comments

Multiple discoveries! (5, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820407)

Oldest known human hair.
Oldest known person eaten by a hyena!

Re:Multiple discoveries! (4, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26821117)

oldest human in turd form, besting Dick Cheney's record!

Re:Multiple discoveries! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26837963)

Bono. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Multiple discoveries! (1)

mhaskell (658865) | more than 5 years ago | (#26848033)

Oldest known human hair. Oldest known person eaten by a hyena!

I guess you really can have a wild hair up your ass.

Could be? (1, Insightful)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820429)

If it's rock hard, no DNA etc. Isn't this just speculation? Unfortunately speculation that the masses will take as 'fact' simply because a 'scientist' said it.

Re:Could be? (2, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820457)

> Isn't this just speculation?

Probably not. The microscopic structure of the hair of a given species is unique.

Re:Could be? (1)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834571)

The article is however very vaguely worded in the first half and the identification of the hair is also vaguish - 'closest to' etc.

Re:Could be? (5, Informative)

Dr. Hellno (1159307) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820553)

the article is actually pretty careful about not asserting this as fact. The article only asserts that hairs were found with "wavy bands of scales" which suggest modern primates. Human hairs closest resemble these hairs, so it's possible that they come from an early human species.

Could be?-Monkey business. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820671)

"The article only asserts that hairs were found with "wavy bands of scales" which suggest modern primates. Human hairs closest resemble these hairs, so it's possible that they come from an early human species."

As opposed to some other earliest primate.

Re:Could be? (2, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#26821267)

Well, the next question is whether these hairs are fossilized or actual. If actual, hair is remarkably good at preserving DNA. It may be possible to determine what primate the hairs belong to.

Re:Could be? (1)

RealErmine (621439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26822069)

hair is remarkably good at preserving DNA

You may be thinking of hair follicles (the skin cells the hair grows from). As far as I know, hair itself does not contain DNA that can be analyzed.

Re:Could be? (3, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#26822715)

It was discovered not long ago that hair itself contains cells, not just the follicles, and that the hair protects those cells against damage. This has been a massive boon to archaeological DNA studies, as it massively reduces contamination as well as reducing loss of information.

The discovery was made during studies of the hair of woolly mammoth [sciencedaily.com]. It's a fascinating line of research and one that is under-utilized at present

Dingo ate your baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26820455)

Old school!

rock hard indeed (0, Troll)

ungybungy (872087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820481)

you could say i'm "rock hard" right now

Re:rock hard indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26820513)

you could say i'm "rock hard" right now

That's what in relation to the typical Slashdot reader's physique? Half a beer belly?

Photographic evidence (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26820829)

Image here. [bbc.co.uk]

Turd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26821623)

FTFA:

"Each white, round fossil turd, or coprolite, is roughly 0.8 inch (2 centimeters) across."

When did "turd" become part of the vocabulary of National Geographic? And how are they so sure this isn't a dingleberry?

Humans (2, Funny)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26822041)

Humans - The other white meat

Re:Humans (1)

wurble (1430179) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826851)

IIRC, human muscle tissue contains myoglobin though, and thus we have red meat. Though you'd probably have to ask a cannibal to be sure. I'd tell you to ask a hyena, but they have communication issues.

Re:Humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26826877)

Humans - The other white meat

Ahh, no. This was found in Africa...

Re:Humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26830477)

Humans - The other white meat

DINGOS et mah Baby!!!

Was it... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26822449)

curly? Cough! Cough!

Re: (1)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26823609)

"The article only asserts that hairs were found with "wavy bands of scales" which suggest modern primates. Human hairs closest resemble these hairs, so it's possible that they come from an early human species."As opposed to some other earliest primate.

Not a Dingo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26823745)

A hyena ate my baby?!

Bring on the bad.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26824289)

... "waiter, there's a hair in my soup" jokes.

The dingo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26824503)

ate my baby!

Same Old Story (3, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#26824507)

"Hey Ogg, I bet those guys who had the really good dope are camped in that cave in Dark Valley."

"I think you're right, Targ. Listen...you can hear them laughing their heads off."

"Let's go see if they'll let us have some."

"Good plan, Ogg."

Why is this in idle? (1)

duffel (779835) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825251)

It's interesting and science. Just because it deals with dung doesn't mean it's toilet humor.

Let's review:
idle articles: Stupid people, Cow Urine, only good for a laugh
This article: Science, National Geographic, really quite interesting.

Re:Why is this in idle? (1)

thered2001 (1257950) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826623)

It needed to follow the other dung story so we'll see where Idle is headed: they'll always try to give us the straight poop.

Oldest human hair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26825463)

Step 1: Find fossilized human hair in hyena's poop
Step 2: Use said hair to clone a neanderthal man
Step 3: ?????
Step 4: Profit!

Main question unanswered (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826421)

They told us all about the scale pattern, how old it is, etc, but didn't answer the main question: What color was it? Did this species die out because it was blond, or was it a hot-blooded redhead? I gots to know.

Most disappointing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26826971)

I can't believe this was summarized with the cheap laugh inducing "poop" instead of the obviously aliterating "fossilized feces."

My day on the savannah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26828835)

I was walking through the savannah yesterday and i had to use the bathroom. As I was walking behind a bush, out walked a sleek furry hyena. To my good fortune the hyena forgot to cover his scat, and upon closer look he appeared to have recently eaten a primate........

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