Scientists have identified a fragment of Neanderthal skull that was found by a dutch mussel fisher on the bottom of the North Sea. According to the specialists this is the oldest human bone discovered underwater, and it gives scientists clues about humans living in northern Europe during the last ice age.
It is believed that the skull fragment belongs to a young adult male. It was found together with animal remains and artefacts. They were dredged up 15km off the coast of the Netherlands - at the so called Zeeland Ridges. The skull fragment was studied by an international team, led by Prof Jean-Jacques Hublin from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology at Leipzig in Germany. Also a member of the team was archaeologist Wil Roebroeks, a Dutch member of the AHOB (Ancient Human Occupation of Britain) project. The scientists found that the fragment matched most closely remains from France that belonged to Neanderthals living roughly 50-60,000 years ago.
"This is a very significant discovery," said Professor Chris Stringer, human origins expert at the Natural History Museum, who directs the AHOB project. "The skull fragment represents the first ancient human found from below the sea – who knows what else we may find down there!". You can read the full article on the hompage of the Natural History Museum.
Published on: 08/10/2009
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