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First Dutch Neanderthal man found

By Richard van der Draay     Jun 17, 2009 in Science
At last the Netherlands also has their Neanderthal man. Minister of Science Ronald Plasterk revealed the remains of the primeval Dutchman at the Leiden Museum of Antiquities.
The Neanderthal’s bone fragment was found off the coast of the province of Zeeland. During the six million years that the human Homo species has existed there have been about sixteen different human varieties. Fifteen of these species became extinct but ours did not. Why did we make it and not our cousins including the Neanderthals?
The skull fragment was found in 2001 and ended up with a Belgian amateur archaeologist before being identified with the help of the Max Planck Institute of Leipzig in Germany.
The right frontal on which is the characteristic thick eyebrow arch is clearly visible belonged to someone who lived as a hunter-gatherer on what is now North Sea between 100.000 and 40.000 years ago.
The Neanderthal has been named after the place where its bone fragment was found: the Zeeland Ridges Neanderthal. The find is significant for several reasons. The Netherlands was one of very few West-European countries where a Neanderthal man had never been found.
The fossil of this prehistoric man is also the first fragment of a Neanderthal that has been found below sea level.
Neanderthal humans lived on the Eurasian steppes during a time frame of hundreds of thousands of years. They were intelligent people with larger brains than we modern humans have and they became extinct for due to reasons unknown about 30.000 years ago.
The fragment is still in the possession of Luc Anthonis, the Belgian amateur archaeologist who found it in 2001. It is not yet known whether Minister Plasterk will acquire this piece of Dutch national heritage or at what price.
More about Neanderthal, Man, Human, Dutch
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