Are the sapiens oldest in Europe, how teachers of neanderthals?

Katie Ramirez
May 14, 2020

Human bones from a Bulgarian cave counsel our species arrived in Europe hundreds of years sooner than beforehand thought, sharing the continent for much longer with Neanderthals.

Before this discovery, the oldest confirmed Homo sapiens remains in Europe were from Romania, and dated to about 41,000 years ago.

"Most of the Pleistocene bones are so fragmented that the eye is impossible to determine which species they represent - presented in press release Institute of evolutionary anthropology of max Planck in the words of one of the authors of the study, Walkera Frido (Frido Welker)".

The new data shows, however, that the two species might have lived together for thousands of years. Their analysis, in Nature Ecology & Evolution, says the remains yielded ages between 46,000 and 43,000 years ago, assigning them to a stage known as the Initial Upper Palaeolithic. "The Bacho Kiro Cave site provides evidence for the first dispersal of H. sapiens across the mid-latitudes of Eurasia". "It gives a lot of time for these groups to interact biologically and also culturally and behaviourally", he tells The Guardian. And that bone had Neanderthal genes, which indicates that the crossover had occurred about 200 years earlier, she said.

The reasons behind their extinction is shrouded in mystery. Neanderthals were roaming Europe until about 40,000 years ago. The cave is already of some importance, with a history of archaeological finds of Homo sapiens discovered within its walls dating back to the 1970s.

In 2015, a research team led by archaeologists from the National Archaeological Institute of Bulgaria and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology resumed work at Bacho Kiro Cave with the goals of clarifying the chronology and the biological nature of the makers of the artifacts. "It represents a new way of making stone tools and new sets of behavior including manufacturing personal ornaments that are a departure from what we know of Neanderthals up to this time".

Personal ornaments and bone tools from Bacho Kiro Cave (left) and from Grotte du Renne (France, right).

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"The last neanderthals were pendants made of teeth of carnivores, perforated makes 44.000 years and never done it before".

Harvati agreed with Hublin that that makes it probably that Neanderthal jewellery found in Western Europe was one thing that species in some way discovered from humans.

"In my view this is the oldest and strongest published evidence for a very early Upper Palaeolithic presence of Homo sapiens in Europe, several millennia before the Neanderthals disappeared", he said, although he said doubt remained about whether Neanderthals were influenced in their jewelery making by early modern humans. Modern Europeans descended from a second later wave of humans out of Africa, he said.

Their research suggests modern humans were there at least as early as 45,000 years ago, possibly even earlier. They brought into Bacho Kiro Cave high quality flint from sources up to 180 km from the site which they worked into tools like pointed blades perhaps to hunt and very likely to butcher the remains of the animals found at the site.

"In some places, we're getting direct evidence for interbreeding events, which could be evidence of social networking and cohesion. but in other examples, we can still see evidence of clear Neanderthal morphologies, suggesting populations that aren't - to any degree - hybridising or being absorbed".

"ZooMS allows us to identify previously unidentifiable bone fragments as some form of human", said team member Professor Shara Bailey, a researcher in the Department of Anthropology at New York University and the Department of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Initial Upper Palaeolithic Homo sapiens from Bacho Kiro Cave, Bulgaria.

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