Spanish paleontologists announced Friday that they have discovered the fossil of a hominid whose age is estimated at 1.4 million years old. This would make him, if the dating is confirmed, the oldest recognized human being in Europe.
The discovery was made on June 30 at the “Sima del Elephant” excavation site in the Sierra de Atapuerca (northeast Spain), where paleontologists have been working since 1978, according to the foundation that manages the site.
About ten centimeters long this fossil “matches”Fragment of a human face estimated to be about 1.4 million years old“, specified this foundation in a press release.
It was at this site in Atapuerca that in 2007 a jawbone about 1.2 million years old was discovered, which is still believed to be the oldest hominid fossil in Europe. ,Naturally, we have to make up the dates” For “Complete“This is the first conjecture, outlined during a press conference, by Jose María Bermudez de Castro, co-director of the Atapuerca project. But this fragment of the face has been discovered in a crust of the Earth”two meters below the layer where the mandible is visible“since 2007,”it is logical and reasonable to think that he is older”, the researcher insisted.
According to Mr. Bermudez de Castro, the dating, which will be carried out within the National Center for Research on Human Evolution (Cenih) in Burgos, 10 kilometers from Atapuerca, will take 6 to 8 months.
More information about the species?
Senih’s analysis, according to the foundation, may also make it possible to identify the human species to which this hominid belonged, and to better understand the way humans evolved and evolved on the European continent.
Until now, paleontologists have not been able to determine with certainty which species the jaw bone, discovered in 2007, belonged to. The fossil may correspond to a species known as Homo antessor, discovered in the 1990s.
,It is very likely that the new fossil of Sima del Elephant is related to this jaw and it is one of the first populations to colonize Europe.”, emphasized the Atapuerca Foundation in a press release.If so, we will finally be able to determine the human species identity of Sima del Elephanta“, she adds.
Exceptionally rich, the deposits of the Sierra de Atapuerca have been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. Thousands of human fossils and tools have been unearthed, including a 1.4-million-year-old flint discovered in 2013.
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