This little bit of earth enamel does not look like much, but it is a skilled discovery “major” by the specialists. French volunteers of young archaeologists have discovered last Thursday in Tautavel (Pyrénées-Orientales). Working brush their square excavations, Camille, a 16 years and Valentin, aged about twenty years, have not lost their day: they cleared the tooth of an adult individual who lived there are 560,000 years, 100,000 years before the famous Tautavel man.
” A big adult tooth – man or woman, you can not say it – was found during excavations in level ground which is known to date back to 550 000 years, because we have used many different dating methods “said Tuesday in AFP paleoanthropologist Viallet Amélie, 39 years.” This is a major discovery because we have very few human fossils at that time in Europe, “she commented. “It’s a piece of the puzzle we were missing to help answer the crucial question: what the Neanderthals comes from a single line?” added paleoanthropologist, who works at Tautavel research center and is also a lecturer at the Natural History Museum in Paris.
“We are getting closer to the origin of the species”
This tooth and the discovery year Last are “extremely important elements, as one approaches the origin of the species,” said AFP Tony Knight. They will “help clarify the debate a bit” currently raging on Homo heidelbergensis, the ancestor of Neanderthals, says this expert from the University of Perpignan. “Homo heidelbergensis [dating between 600 000 and 650 000 years, Ed] is he just a European or African also? This is a very important debate “which contributes Tautavel, he added.
The tooth found last week, which dates from 560,000 years,” reminds what is already on species and dating from 450,000 years. ” “So we can say that this species extends over time. If we find an entire mandible, we can say whether there has been an evolution or not, “he said, anticipating other future discoveries.
The excavation site Tautavel has indeed not finished delivering its secrets. “We hope to find other remains. At Tautavel, it was a human presence which is likely up to 690 000 years, which exceeds the origin of the species. “The expert has one regret: that the tooth is found a lower incisor. “It’s not the most important element. These are very simple and teeth with few features. If we had a premolar or molar, we would have had more information on the species. “
The find was made in the cave or” caune “of Arago, near the village of Tautavel, 34 km northwest of Perpignan, considered an ideal observation post for Prehistoric hunters. This is one of the most important prehistoric deposits in the world. On this site – searched for fifty years by thousands of volunteers around the world – more than 140 skeletal remains of “Tautavel man”, 450 000 years, had already been discovered