SYDNEY, April 12 (Xinhua) -- Archeologists from Australia have published findings from an archeological dig in Indonesia on Thursday, which shows ice age hunter-gatherers on the island of Sulawesi arrived far earlier than once thought.
In the 1970's, artifacts were found at a rock shelter called Leang Burung 2, that seemed to suggest modern humans occupied the area around 25,000 to 34,000 years ago.
But recently Griffith University along with other partners were able to dig 3 meters deeper than the original excavation to find more ancient artifacts, and by using highly advanced uranium series analysis, it was confirmed the occupants of the cave arrived at least 50,000 years ago.
"In the deepest part of site, in the deepest part that we excavated, we found stones tools that people had flaked and chipped into shape to form basic tools," author of the report from Griffith University Associate Professor Adam Brumm told Xinhua.
"We also found lots of teeth and bones from animals that probably represent the food eaten by these ancient hunter-gatherers."
But the identity of the site's mysterious cave-dwellers remains somewhat of a puzzle for researchers.
The island is located near the edge of the Asian continent, which is home to a vast array of ancient homo species including homo erectus and the famous "Hobbits" or Homo floresiensis.
"It is also thought that the so-named 'Denisovan' hominins, close relatives of the Neanderthals, were present too," Brumm said.
"So based on findings in the wider region, therefore, it is possible that the first inhabitants of Leang Burung 2 were a now-extinct group that was later replaced by our species."
As for what the ancient hunters may have fed on, Brumm said at the time the island was also inhabited by "giants pigs" that lived on during the ice age and creatures similar to elephants.