European Roots: Human ancestors go back in time in Spanish cave | Science News

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European Roots: Human ancestors go back in time in Spanish cave

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1:05pm, March 26, 2008

Fossil finds in Spain have yielded the earliest known skeletal evidence of human ancestors in Europe, according to a new report. A fossil jaw and tooth from the same individual, found during excavations of a cave called Sima del Elefante in northern Spain's Atapuerca Mountains, date to between 1.2 million and 1.1 million years old, say anthropologist Eudald Carbonell of Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, Spain, and his colleagues.

The investigators assign the new discoveries to the species Homo antecessor. A decade ago, they identified 800,000-year-old fossils from another Atapuerca site as H. antecessor. In the Spanish scientists' view, H. antecessor was an evoluti

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