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Author Topic: portugal oldest human cranium found  (Read 330 times)

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portugal oldest human cranium found
« on: March 15, 2017, 03:25:42 PM »

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170313192729.htm

400,000-year-old fossil human cranium is oldest ever found in Portugal
Date:
March 13, 2017
Source:
Binghamton University, State University of New York
Summary:
Researchers have found the oldest fossil human cranium in Portugal, marking an important contribution to knowledge of human evolution during the middle Pleistocene in Europe and to the origin of the Neanderthals.


The Aroeira 3 cranium.
Credit: Javier Trueba.


A large international research team, directed by the Portuguese archaeologist João Zilhão and including Binghamton University anthropologist Rolf Quam, has found the oldest fossil human cranium in Portugal, marking an important contribution to knowledge of human evolution during the middle Pleistocene in Europe and to the origin of the Neandertals.

The cranium represents the westernmost human fossil ever found in Europe during the middle Pleistocene epoch and one of the earliest on this continent to be associated with the Acheulean stone tool industry. In contrast to other fossils from this same time period, many of which are poorly dated or lack a clear archaeological context, the cranium discovered in the cave of Aroeira in Portugal is well-dated to 400,000 years ago and appeared in association with abundant faunal remains and stone tools, including numerous bifaces (handaxes).

"This is an interesting new fossil discovery from the Iberian Peninsula, a crucial region for understanding the origin and evolution of the Neandertals," said Quam, an associate professor of anthropology at Binghamton University, State University of New York. "The Aroeira cranium is the oldest human fossil ever found in Portugal and shares some features with other fossils from this same time period in Spain, France and Italy. The Aroeria cranium increases the anatomical diversity in the human fossil record from this time period, suggesting different populations showed somewhat different combinations of features."

The cranium was found on the last day of the 2014 field season. Since the sediments containing the cranium at the Aroeira site were firmly cemented, the cranium was removed from the site in a large, solid block. It was then transported to the restoration laboratory at the Centro de Investigacion sobre la Evolucion y Comportamiento Humanos, a paleoanthropology research center in Madrid, Spain, for preparation and extraction, a painstaking process which took two years.

"The results of this study are only possible thanks to the arduous work of numerous individuals over the last several years," said Quam. "This includes the archaeologists who have excavated at the site for many years, the preparator who removed the fossil from its surrounding breccia, researchers who CT scanned the specimen and made virtual reconstructions and the anthropologists who studied the fossil. This study truly represents an international scientific collaboration, and I feel fortunate to be involved in this research."

"I have been studying these sites for the last 30 years and we have recovered much important archaeological data, but the discovery of a human cranium of this antiquity and importance is always a very special moment," said Zilhão.

The new fossil will form the centerpiece of an exhibit on human evolution in October at the Museu Nacional de Arqueologia in Lisbon, Portugal.

The study, titled "New Middle Pleistocene hominin cranium from the Gruta da Aroeira (Portugal)," appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Binghamton University, State University of New York. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


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http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/evolution/a-400000yearold-skull-fragment-found-in-portugal-points-to-mystery-people/news-story/a88fc4dba073ab34967ef2fc958d3423

A 400,000-year-old skull fragment found in Portugal points to mystery people
MARCH 15, 20173:38PM

A skull fragment from nearly half a million years ago points to the possibility of a previously unknown species of early humans.
Nick Whigham and AFP
news.com.au
THE discovery of a skull fragment from nearly half a million years ago points to a previously unknown subspecies of early humans and offers tantalising hints about a possible ancestor of the Neanderthals, scientists say.
The 400,000-year-old fossil was unearthed from a cave site in Portugal in 2014 using ancient stone hand axes, and marks the oldest human cranium fossil ever found in the country.
Researchers don’t know if it was from a male or female, how the person died, or even what form of early human it was.
The large piece of skull displays a new mix of features not seen before in fossil humans, reported Science.
It has traits that link it to Neanderthals, such as their famous fused brow ridge, as well as some primitive traits that resemble other extinct fossils in Europe.
“There is a lot of question about which species these fossils represent. I tend to think of them as ancestors of the Neanderthals,” co-author Rolf Quam, an anthropologist at New York’s Binghamton University told French press agency AFP.
“It is not a Neanderthal itself,” he added. “It has some features that might be related to the later Neanderthals,” including a lump of bone near the ear called the mastoid process, the exact purpose of which is unclear.

https://twitter.com/josetron/status/841377461191471109/photo/1


“There is a lot of debate currently in the anthropological literature about what species to call these fossils. There is not a lot of agreement,” said Mr Quam, who authored the study with Portuguese archaeologist Joao Zilhao and colleagues.



Its location is the furthest west of any human fossil ever found in Europe during the middle Pleistocene period.
It is also one of the earliest in Europe to be associated with the Acheulean stone tool industry, a more advanced kind of toolkit than used among the earliest humans in Europe.
It took a full week for excavators to cut out the block of Earth which contained the skull and then two and a half painstaking years to extract the skull itself from the block.
In the coming years, experts will dive into the details of the skull and its surroundings “to give a more complete picture of life in the area, life in the cave and the evolutionary place of this human in our ancestry,” said Mr Quam.

pic

Modern humans (the subspecies of Homo sapiens to which all humans alive today belong) first appeared in Africa about 150,000 to 200,000 years ago. It’s believed their first migration out of Africa began some 100,000 years ago.
Meanwhile, Neanderthals occupied Europe and Asia from 200,000 to 40,000 years ago.
The time period of about 100,000 years ago is particularly important for researchers studying the evolution of Homo sapiens, however the fossil record for the time is relatively sparse.
In recent decades, unusual discoveries have suggested the presence of other forms of ancient hominid living in Europe and Asia.
There’s the still largely unexplained Dmanisi hominins, the earliest human fossils found on the border of Asia and Europe. And there’s the mystery of the Denisovans, which is yet to be established as a separate species or subspecies of human in the genus Homo.
Two 100,000-year-old skulls unearthed in China in 2007 and 2014 have also raised interesting questions about human evolution. They appear to be hybrids of humans, Neanderthals and a third mysterious race.



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and lots more



400000-year-old fossil human cranium is oldest ever found in Portugal
popular-archaeology.com/.../400-000-year-old-fossil-human-cranium-is-oldest-ever-f...

2 days ago - 400,000-year-old fossil human cranium is oldest ever found in Portugal ... in the cave of Aroeira in Portugal is well-dated to 400,000 years ago ...
400000-year-old fossil human cranium is oldest ever found in Portugal
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170313192729.htm
2 days ago - Researchers have found the oldest fossil human cranium in Portugal, marking an important contribution to knowledge of human evolution ...

Researchers discover 400,000-year-old artifact in Portugal - AOL News
https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/03/15/...year-old...in-portugal/21895926/
5 hours ago - While digging in Portugal, they found a 400000-year-old human cranium. ... of Aroeira, making it the furthest west locale to produce a human fossil from the Pleistocene epoch. The piece is the oldest ever found in the region.

Rare 400,000 Year Old Skull Discovered in Portuguese Cave
www.newhistorian.com › Breaking News
2 mins ago - A rare 400,000-year-old fossilized skull was recently discovered in a cave in Portugal and is likely the oldest such fossil of its kind found within the ... human fossil originating from that time period ever found within Europe.

Portuguese cave yields 400,000-year-old human ancestor skull ...
https://www.slashgear.com/portuguese-cave-yields-400000-year-old-human-ancestor-...
1 day ago - Portuguese cave yields 400,000-year-old human ancestor skull fossil ... The Aroeira cranium is the oldest human fossil ever found in Portugal ...

400,000-year-old skull of mystery human ancestor is found | Daily Mail ...
www.dailymail.co.uk/.../400-000-year-old-skull-mystery-human-ancestor-found.html
2 days ago - Revealed: 400,000-year-old skull of a mystery people with Neanderthal ... and marks the oldest human cranium fossil ever found in Portugal.

Researchers find 400,000-year-old human cranium in Portugal
www.wcvb.com/article/...find-400000-year-old-human-cranium...portugal/9134115
17 hours ago - Researchers have found the oldest fossil human cranium in Portugal, marking an important contribution to knowledge of human evolution.

400,000-year-old skull found in Portugal cave may be Neanderthal ...
www.japantimes.co.jp/.../400000-year-old-skull-found-portugal-cave-may-neanderthal-...
2 days ago - The discovery of a 400000-year-old half skull in Portugal has offered ... marks the oldest human cranium fossil ever found in Portugal, said the ...

 


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