Fossils of Oldest European Discovered..

1:48 AM



The fossils of a lower jaw and teeth, more than 1.1 million years old, were found in sediments along with stone tools and animal bones that appeared to have been butchered. The remains have been attributed to the previously known species Homo antecessor, a possible ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans.The discovery is described in the current issue of the journal Nature by a team of Spanish and American scientists led by Eudald Carbonell of the Catalan Institute of Human Paleontology and Social Evolution at Tarragona, Spain.The scientists, noting that the earliest presence of human ancestors in Europe is "one of the most debated topics in paleoanthropology," said the site of Sima del Elefante in the Atapuerca Mountains held the "oldest, most accurately dated record" of both fossils and artifacts of human occupation in Western Europe.Other sites on the continent have yielded artifacts of a roughly comparable age, but no fossil bones. Until now, the earliest remains of Homo antecessor, found in the same mountains, were 800,000 years old. Far to the east, in the republic of Georgia, recent fossil discoveries show that early Homo had moved into parts of Eurasia from Africa about 1.9 million years ago."It's great to have confirmation that there was early human penetration in Western Europe this early," said Ian Tattersall, a paleonanthropologist at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, who was not involved in the research.
(source: Herald Tribune)

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