New Neanderthal fossils have been discovered in Israel that can rewrite the history of human evolution. The finds, dating back to 140 thousand years ago, indicate that the evolution of these ‘cousins’ of ours has not only matured on the European continent but also in the Middle East.
Collaboration between Israeli and Italian universities
The discovery, published in Guided Science, is the result of a collaboration between researchers from the Tel Aviv and Hebrew Universities of Jerusalem and the Italian researchers from Sapienza University of Rome and the University of Florence.
Remains dating back to about 140 thousand years ago
“The crucial element of this discovery is in particular the dating, about 140 thousand years ago in what is called the end of the Middle Pleistocene”, explained Giorgio Manzi, della Sapienza and one of the authors of one of the two works. A phase that represents a transition phase for human evolution, a transition from archaic forms of Homo to more modern forms such as Sapiens or Neanderthals.
The remains found are teeth and bone fragments
The fragments found in Nesher Ramla’s excavation, in particular some teeth and fragments of the jaw and skull, analyzed with sophisticated digital techniques have shown that the remains show a unique combination of Neanderthal features and more archaic traits. “If those remains had been found in Europe – specified Manzi – there would have been nothing particularly new, there would have been new evidence on what has long been believed, namely that Neanderthals have matured in Europe and only subsequently spread to other areas. Now it emerges instead that the evolution of the Neanderthals would have had contributions also from the Middle East “.