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article imageAncient, Neanderthal-like skulls discovered

By Tim Sandle     Jun 21, 2014 in Science
Seventeen skulls excavated from Spain’s Sima de los Huesos and thought to be around 430,000 years old are the oldest specimens with Neanderthal features uncovered to date.
Scientists have found evidence suggesting that the discovered skulls are the remains of ancient individuals who were not fully Neanderthal, yet not quite Homo heidelbergensis, either. These two types of humans were common to the region at this time.
Commenting on the Spanish find, Jean-Jacques Hublin from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has told The Guardian:
“Until recently, most [scientists] supported [the idea] that Neanderthals emerged, at most, 250,000 years ago. The discovery at Sima demonstrates that there is a much deeper history of the Neanderthals than we previously thought, to at least 430,000 years ago. These new specimens are clearly not like the late Neanderthals, but ancestral forms of Neanderthals.”
Earlier reports that saw the separation of different types of humans has been turned on its head recently. Another study suggests that Neanderthals may have actually been a lot like modern humans, for they seem to have had similar social networks and capacity for innovation.
The discovery was made by researchers from Complutense University of Madrid. The findings have been reported to the journal Science in a paper titled "Neandertal roots: Cranial and chronological evidence from Sima de los Huesos."
More about Neanderthal, Humans, Skulls, Sima de los Huesos
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