A research team co-directed by Erik Trinkaus, professor of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, has dated a human jawbone from a Romanian bear hibernation cave to between 34,000 and 36,000 years ago. That makes it the earliest known modern human fossil in Europe.
Jawbone, temporal bone and facial skeleton from early Europeans
Other human bones from the same cave -- a temporal bone, a facial skeleton and a partial braincase -- are still undergoing analysis, but are likely to be the same age. The jawbone was found in February 2002 in Pestera cu Oase, the "Cave with Bones," located in the southwestern Carpathian Mountains. The other bones were found in June 2003.
The results on the jawbone will be published the week of Sept. 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS; www.pnas.org) Online Early Edition. A report on the other bones will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Human Evolution (www.sciencedirect.com). The finds should shed much-needed light on early modern human biology.
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