Friday, November 4, 2011

Study Sheds New Light On Fossil Humans

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Modern humans swept across Europe faster and earlier than paleontologists previously thought, according to a new analysis of fossil jawbone south-west of England, and two teeth in southern Italy.

The study shows that modern humans first arrive in the mainland several thousand years, the Neanderthals already living there.

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The international study, published in the journal Nature, shows that the bones of Kents Cavern in Devon and teeth Grotta del Cavallo in Puglia is between 42,000 and 45,000 years old - the oldest human evidence is not yet discovered in Europe.

According to Professor Chris Stringer is the Museum of Natural History in London, the results suggest that modern humans - Gay sapiens - may have traveled to different parts of Europe Within 1000 years after the entry into the continent, the Middle East and Africa, of all ages benefit from favorable climatic interval ice. At the same time, other groups of modern humans were going in the opposite direction, South-East Asia through Australia.

The bones and teeth were discovered several decades ago (in 1927 and 1964, respectively), but previous researchers have not appreciated its importance.

In Italy teeth had been misidentified as Neanderthal. The new technology of digital scans showed that children were anatomically modern. England mandible previously believed to be about 35000 years, is now a highly sensitive method for the new radiocarbon dating of Oxford is to put back to at least 7000 years.

During the period of cultural elements between 42,000 and 45,000 years, beads and other personal ornaments - called Aurignacian culture - began to appear in the archaeological record of Europe. Some paleontologists believe that Neanderthals, who lived in Europe for over 100,000 years ago and disappeared about 30,000 years, were responsible for sophisticated cultural elements, but researchers say their new analysis casts doubt on this theory.

"We believe [the mouth of the cave of Kent] is the first direct evidence that we modern humans in northwest Europe, in a place outside the outer limits of the initial dispersion of our species," said Dr. Tom Higham of Oxford.

"It confirms the presence of modern humans at the time of the first Aurignacian culture, and tells us much about the speed of our species spread throughout Europe during the last ice age," he said. "It also means that the first humans who have coexisted with Neanderthals in this region, which several researchers have called into question."

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

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