New early human fossil

I have not read the paper yet, but there is a news report out. This will be in tomorrows nature:

MADRID, Spain – A small piece of jawbone unearthed in a cave in Spain is the oldest known fossil of a human ancestor in Europe and suggests that people lived on the continent much earlier than previously believed, scientists say.
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The researchers said the fossil found last year at Atapuerca in northern Spain, along with stone tools and animal bones, is up to 1.3 million years old. That would be 500,000 years older than remains from a 1997 find that prompted the naming of a new species: Homo antecessor, or Pioneer Man, possibly a common ancestor to Neanderthals and modern humans.

The new find appears to be from the same species, researchers said.

A team co-led by Eudald Carbonell, director of the Catalan Institute of Human Paleo-Ecology and Social Evolution, reported their find in Thursday’s issue of the scientific journal Nature.

The timing of the earliest occupation of Europe by humans that emerged from Africa has been controversial for many years.

Some archeologists believe the process was a stop-and-go one in which species of hominins — a group that includes the extinct relatives of modern humans — emerged and died out quickly only to be replaced by others, making for a very slow spread across the continent, Carbonell said in an interview.

Comments

  1. #1 Napoleon Champagne
    March 27, 2008

    So, it is like, Charles Ingalls? “Pioneer Man”….Could you elaborate? “Some archeologists believe …”

    What do YOU believe on this one…I remember thinming that you asre right on, but I don’rt remember why.

    Is the interpretation of such ‘localized’ evidence still controversial?.
    I await your next post, and thanx for covering this;-)