Discovery of a 560-Thousand-Year-Old Human Tooth in France

Saturday, August 8, 2015 - 12:43

A human tooth from 560,000 years ago has been found in a prehistoric cave in the southwest of France. Other local findings show that the tooth owner might have been highly interested in horse, reindeer, and rhinoceros meat.

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The discoverer was a 16-year-old girl who was working with another volunteer archeologist in a famous prehistoric cave near the village of Tautavel. Paleontologists have called this a “major discovery”, since no such ancient human body part has ever been discovered in Europe.

Scientists have not yet been able to say if the aforementioned tooth was from a male or a female. However, it "was found during excavations of soil we know to be between 550,000 and 580,000 years old, because we used different dating methods," said Amelie Viallet, the discoverer.

"We believe these men have lived for a long time in the cave or have regularly come back into it," said Tony Chevalier, a paleoanthropologist from Tautavel. "We also know that the area was quite cold at the time. It was a steppe, with no trees. There had to be some long periods with snow."

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