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The first hominin of Europe


Carbonell i Roura, Eudald and Bermúdez de Castro, José María and Parés Casanova, J.M. and Pérez-González, Alfredo and Cuenca Bescós, Gloria and Ollé Canellas, Andreu and Mosquera Martínez, Marina and Huguet Pamiès, Rosa and Made, Jan van der and Rosas González, Antonio and Sala, Robert and Vallverdú Poch, Josep and García García, Nuria and Granger, Darryl E. and Martinón Torres, María and Rodríguez, Xoxé Pedro and Stock, Greg M. and Vergès, Josep María and Allué, Ethel and Burjachs i Casas, Francesc and Cáceres Cuello de Oro, Isabel and Canals i Salomó, Antoni and Benito Calvo, Alfonso and Díez Fernández-Lomana, Juan Carlos and Mateos Cachorro, Ana and Navazo Ruiz, Marta and Rodríguez Solorzano, Jesús and Rosell Ardèvol, Jordi and Arsuaga, Juan Luis (2008) The first hominin of Europe. Nature (London), 452 . pp. 465-469. ISSN 0028-0836

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The earliest hominin occupation of Europe is one of the most debated topics in palaeoanthropology. However, the purportedly oldest of the Early Pleistocene sites in Eurasia lack precise age control and contain stone tools rather than human fossil remains1–5. Here we report the discovery of a human mandible associated with an assemblage of Mode 1 lithic tools and faunal remains bearing traces of hominin processing, in stratigraphic level TE9 at the site of the Sima del Elefante, Atapuerca, Spain6–8. Level TE9 has been dated to the Early Pleistocene (approximately 1.2–1.1 Myr), based on a combination of palaeomagnetism, cosmogenic nuclides and biostratigraphy. The Sima del Elefante site thus emerges as the oldest, most accurately dated record of human occupation in Europe, to our knowledge. The study of the human mandible suggests that the first ettlement of Western Europe could be related to an early demographic expansion out of Africa. The new evidence, with previous findings in other Atapuerca sites (level TD6 from Gran Dolina9–13), also suggests that a speciation event occurred in this extreme area of the Eurasian continent during the Early Pleistocene, initiating the hominin lineage represented by the TE9 and TD6 hominins.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Europe; Hominid; Atapuerca; Palaeoantropology; Spain; Sima del Elefante
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
ID Code:12216
Deposited On:11 Feb 2011 10:37
Last Modified:16 Sep 2015 10:02

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