Oldest European human fossil found in Spain
Madrid, June 30 (Xinhua): An excavation team has discovered in northern Spain the oldest human fossils confirming mankind's presence in Europe over more than 1 million years ago, local media reported on Friday.
The fossil, discovered in the Atapuerca Sierra in the northern province of Burgos, is a human tooth. Jose Maria Bermudez de Castro, co-director of research at the Atapuerca site, was quoted as saying the tooth could be as old as 1.2 million years.
The fossil, which gives a new perspective to human history, was found in the entry to Sima del Elefante, a pleistocene deposit that was the last to be systematically excavated in Atapuerca.
Initial findings suggested it was the remains of an ancestor of Homo antecessor. Fossils from mammals discovered previously included those of bison, deer and bear as well as birds and a mouse.
In Atapuerca, several Homo antecessor fossils were discovered in 1994 at the nearby Gran Dolina site, suggesting human occupation of Europe around 800,000 years ago.
In the past decade, 500,000-year-old Homo heidelbergensis fossil remains were also found in these fossil deposits.
Sci. & Tech.