1.4 million-year-old jawbone may belong to oldest known European human relative

1.4 million-year-old jawbone may belong to oldest known European human relative. Image: sruilk/Shutterstock.com

An archaeological site in the Atapuerca Mountains near the city of Burgos in northern Spain which is known for its rich fossil record is where the latest fossil has been unearthed.

The fragmented skull is believed to be the oldest of its kind ever found in Europe.

It includes part of the upper jawbone (maxilla) and a tooth of a hominid who lived approximately 1.4 million years ago, according to Live Science on Sunday, July 17.

John Hawks, who is an anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in America, although not affiliated with the recent dig, said that the new discovery helps give insight into the locals previously in the area.

“We don’t know yet exactly where this piece of the upper jaw is going to fit, and it’s going to take a lot of work and comparison for that team to determine [this],” John Hawks told Live Science.

“But whatever they determine, this is tied to a site with evidence of behaviour.”

“And every piece that we have that’s tied to a site with evidence of behaviour, such as making stone tools or hunting, tells us the behavioural capacities of ancestors and relatives of ours.”

“For me, that’s the important part.”

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from the UK, Anna is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]