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.
The national delegation confirmed on Sunday its keenness on the success of the Yemeni consultations in Kuwait under the auspices of the United Nations.
This came during a joint session between the national delegation and Riyadh’s delegation in the presence of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
At the session, the UN Secretary-General asserted that the position of the international community is clear, which is that the conflict should stop and Yemen should return to the path of political transition.
Ban Ki-moon expressed his optimism for the recent release of prisoners and detainees, urging the parties to release all prisoners as a goodwill initiative before the Eid al-Fitr.
The Saudi aggression and its mercenaries continued to breach the ceasefire during the past hours in several provinces, a military official said Saturday.
The Saudi warplanes flew on the skies of the Capital, Amran, Sana'a, Mareb, Jawf, Sa'ada, Dhalea and Taiz provinces. At the same time, the Riyadh's hirelings pounded al-Ghail district in Jawf with artillery shells.
The Saudi-led war jets waged on Thursday four raids on scattered areas in al-Qabitah district of Lahj province, killing a citizen from the district, a military official said.
The official pointed out that the aggression’s warplanes and its mercenaries continued to breach the ceasefire during the past 24 hours in a number of provinces in the country.
The hostile war jets waged two raids on Maswara area and Nehm district in Sana’a province, two others on Serwah district of Mareb province and another one on al-Saqiyah area in al-Masloub district in Jawf province, he said.