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David Lordkipanidze

Rewriting human prehistory

Published in 2004clockTime to read: 45s
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Since 1991, palaeoanthropologist David Lordkipanidze has led an international team excavating one of the world’s foremost prehistoric sites where the bones of the earliest-known human ancestors to venture out of Africa have come to light.

locationGeorgia

David Lordkipanidze, now Director General of the Georgian National Museum, is at the forefront of research on human prehistory.

Their state of preservation is exceptional, enabling us to study many previously unknown aspects of the skeleton of fossil hominids for the first time, and in more than one individual.

In 2013, he and his colleagues reached a critical conclusion that the early Homo fossils may represent one species and belong to the same, single lineage, through their discovery of a 1.8 million year-old skull at Dmanisi in Georgia, located about 90 km south-west of the capital Tbilisi. The story was picked up by media all over the world.

Hundreds of scientists and students have been involved in the excavations, which Lordkipanidze plans to continue. “We can say for sure that Dmanisi has enormous potential to yield new discoveries as we know that at least 50,000 square metres of the site contain stone tools – and these still remain to be excavated for fossil humans,” he says. He has in recent years been elected to prominent scientific organizations, such as the National Academy of Sciences and the World Academy of Art and Science. Among his many awards, he won the Humboldt Research Award in 2014. He has also transformed the Georgian National Museum into a vibrant space for culture, education and science.

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