AFP - MADRID (AFP) - Spanish researchers on Friday said they had unearthed a human tooth more than one million years old, which they estimated to be the oldest human fossil remain ever discovered in western Europe.
Jose Maria Bermudez de Castro, co-director of research at the Atapuerca site said the molar, discovered on Wednesday in the Atapuerca Sierra in the northern province of Burgos, could be as much as 1.2 million years old.
"The tooth represents the oldest human fossil remain of western Europe. Now we finally have the anatomical evidence of the hominids that fabricated tools more than one million years ago," the Atapuerca Foundation said in a statement.
"Since it is an isolated fossil remain, it is not possible at this point to confirm which Homo species this tooth belongs to," the foundation added, but said first analyses "allow us to suppose it is an ancestor of Homo antecessor (pioneer)."
In 1994 at the nearby Gran Dolina site several Homo antecessor fossils were uncovered, suggesting human occupation of Europe around 800,000 years ago, whereas scientists had previously believed the continent had only been inhabited for around half a million years.
Subsequent findings in various sites across Spain lent further credence to the earlier date.
The Sierra Atapuerca contains several caves such as the Gran Dolina site, where fossils and stone tools of Europe's earliest known hominids have been found.
Researchers found the molar in the Sima del Elefante section of the sierra which had previously yielded fossils from mammals including bison, deer and bear as well as birds and a mouse.
The foundation said studies of the geological level suggested it was more than one million years old but that final results were being awaited prior to "publishing this extraordinary finding in a research journal of the highest scientific prestige."
Bermudez de Castro, one of three paleontologists leading the expedition, said the fossil appeared to be "well worn" and from an individual aged between 20-25.
"For the time being we have no idea what species but there is no doubt, from the (geological) level where the tooth was found, that it belonged to the oldest European found to date," he added.
Excavations in recent years in the sierra have uncovered human remains ranging from early humans through the Bronze Age to modern man.
Atapuerca's most famous site is "Sima de los Huesos" (pit of bones) and fossils found there date from at least 350,000 years ago.
Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis descended Thursday (Aug 24) on Sanaa in a major show to celebrate of the 35th anniversary of the General People's Congress (GPC) founding anniversary.
The rally marking 35 years since the founding the General People's Congress (GPC).
The streets of the capital, waving the blue flag of the GPC and carrying pictures of Saleh the leader of GPC.
At least 71 citizens were killed and wounded by warplanes from the Saudi-led aggression coalition on Sanaa province early on Wednesday morning, a security official said.
The air strikes hit a hotel in Bait al-Edhari area in Arhab district,
Saudi aggression warplanes launched seven air strikes on Saada province overnight, an official said on Wednesday.
The targeted places were the regular road in Al-Sheikh area of Monabah district, Alhbrah area of Razeh district, the directorate of Al-Taher and Shada directorate.
The strikes severely damaged civilian properties, said the official.
Armed forces' spokesman Brigadier General, Sharaf Luqman said the army and popular forces have provided the greatest sacrifices to defend the homeland against Saudi-led aggression forces, stressing on maintaining the internal unity.
In a press statement on Monday, Luqman said that the historical steadfastness and the cohesion of the Yemeni people represent the first defense line against the aggression states.