Cold comfort 300,000 years ago

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Human beings developed the survival skills necessary to live in the hostile environment of Siberia 300,000 years ago, anthropologists have found. Humans inhabited Siberia 250,000 to 300,000 years ago -much earlier than the generally accepted date of 30,000 years ago, according to research appearing in today's edition of Science.

"What this indicates is that people had the ability to deal with a rigorous environment like Siberia. They could control fire, have a survival strategy, make and find shelter, clothing, boots," said Michael Waters, a geo-anthropologist of Texas A & M University, who helped date the Diring Yuriakh site along the Lena River.

Asked why primitive people would live there, he said: "That's what I'd like to know too."