National Geographic : 2010 Jul
A large-brained, early Homo sapiens skull found in 1997 (above) reveals the imposing face of Herto man. Large cleavers (top right, 7.5 inches long) and other flaked stone tools were used to butcher hippos. ART: JON FOSTER LEFT ; © J. H. MATTERNES RIGHT . PHOTOS: DAVID L. BRILL A Sign of Ritual BOURI-HERTO, ETHIOPIA The skull of a child that was defleshed after death may be a remnant of an early human ritual (artist's conception, left). Dating to between 160,000 and 154,000 years ago, the skull and those of two adult early Homo sapiens were found near the village of Herto on the Bouri Peninsula. The polished surface of the child's skull suggests repeated handling: a treasured relic whose meaning we will never know.