TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Harry Widianto, an archeologist from the Yogyakarta Archaeological Center, conducted a study on the ancient human fossil discoveries in Bumiayu, Brebes Regency, Central Java. The fossil found was part of the Homo erectus group, which is estimated to be the oldest in Indonesia.
"When we talk about early humans, the orientation is not Indonesia, but Javanese, Javaman. These are widely known. The discovery of a 1.8 million-years fossil in Bumiayu does not necessarily strikes-out the 'Out of Africa' fossil, but in Bumiayu it existed — and that's multiregional," Harry told Tempo, Wednesday, July 3, 2019.
Fossils found in the excavation area are hump bone, jaw, and tooth root. These, Harry said, are different from the fossils found in Sangiran Early Man Site in Sragen, Central Java. The Sangiran fossils are 1.5 million years old and the development originated from Africa.
"This new fossil is part of the Homo erectus group whose development comes from local evolution—known as multiregional," Harry said. "This means that the Bumiayu fossil is the oldest of early humans in Java and in Indonesia, not Sangiran."
Bumiayu excavation site has been an object of research by archaeologists since the 1920s. The area spanning from Bumiayu to Tegal was once the east coast of Java Island before the whole island of Java emerged and became what we know today. Harry made sure that ancient life in Bumiayu was older than in the east.
"The existence of Homo erectus in Bumiayu is very plausible considering around 2.4 million years ago the area was the east coastline of Java—before the island's shape became what we now know," he said.
In addition to early human fossils, researchers have also discovered other fossils in Bumiayu and nearby areas, including ancient versions of elephants, deer, bulls and water buffaloes.
Moh Khory Alfarizi