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 Saudi aggression and its hirelings continued to breach the UN-backed ceasefire in several provinces during the past 24 hours, a security official said Sunday.
The Saudi warplanes waged an air raid on Abbs district in Hajjah province, a raid on Kilo 16 area in Hodeida province and two air raids on al-Masloub district in Jawf province, the official explained.
The Saudi aggression targeted Harf Sufyan district of Amran province with 15 sorties and targeted a cement-loaded truck in the district, the official added.
The Riyadh's hirelings in Taiz province pounded Dhubab city, al-Amri Mount and many areas in al-Waze'yah district, he said.
The hirelings pounded the army and popular committees sites in Jahmalya and Tha'abat areas in Taiz province. They continued to target al-Shabka Mount, al-Madrab Mount, al-Qashuba area with medium weapons.
The official confirmed that many hirelings were killed or injured when they tried to advance towards al-Dhahura Mount in al-Waze'yah district in Taiz.
The national delegation described on Saturday the Saudi aggression bombing on al-Amaliqa military camp threatens the truce and talks progress.
The delegation's statement came in a letter of protest handed over to the UN Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed against the intensive bombing by the Saudi warplanes on al-Amaliqa camp taken place on Friday in Amran province.
The continuation of the air raids on the country clearly showed the lack of sincere will and serious efforts to reach a political solution, the delegation said.
The letter was handed over during the talk session held today at Bayan Palace in Kuwait in the presence of the UN envoy and the talk delegation's heads.
The Saudi-led coalition and its mercenaries continued to breach the UN-announced ceasefire during the past few hours in a number of provinces, a military official said Friday.
The aggression warplanes launched a raid on Serwah district of Mareb province and two others on al-Maslob district in Jawf province, the official said.
He added that the hostile war jets targeted Harf Sufian district in Amran province with two raids, in addition to six raids waged on the district since the morning.
The warplanes and spying planes flew intensively in the sky of districts of Taiz province and on the coastal strip.
The military official said the aggression’s mercenaries pounded different parts of Serwah district in Mareb province with artillery shells. They bombed the sites of the army and popular committees in Jarrah Mount and Usaifera area in Taiz province with medium and heavy weapons.
At least 11 people were killed in Dhalea province when the Saudi warplanes targeted al-Mahla area with several raids, a military official said.
The Saudi warplanes also hit Harib-al-Qaramish area and Serwah district of Mareb province with several air raids, the official said, adding the raids caused many casualties.
Moreover, a woman was wounded when the aggression targeted Hareb-Nehm in Sana'a province with two air raids to back an attempt of the hirelings to make progress on the ground.
In Sana'a province, the Riyadh's hirelings targeted the army and popular committees' sites in Nehm district and fired tens of rockets on Mabda'a, Bani Bareq and Malh areas in the district, according to the official.
The hirelings in Taiz province hit al-Qashuba area in al-Waze'yah district, al-Amri and Dhubab city with artillery shells.
The aggression dropped sound bombs on the sky of Harf Sufyan district of Amran province, he noted.
Meanwhile, the Saudi aggression intensified flying on the skies of the capital and its suburbs, Taiz and its coastline, Sa'ada, Hajjah, Mareb and Mahweet, Jawf provinces.
An agreement was reached to release one thousand prisoners from both of the parties to the conflict in Yemen before the holy month of Ramadan, sources in the national delegation in Kuwait said on Thursday.
The sources explained that each party will submit a list of 500 prisoners to the United Nations next Saturday, which in turn will hand over the list of each party to the other party.
The national delegation continued on Thursday, during a session with the UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, to discuss ideas and proposals relating to the transition roadmap.
In the session, the national delegation insisted on the need to form a consensus executive authority and determine the time-bound tasks and powers of the transitional phase leading to presidential and parliamentary elections.
The delegation underlined the importance of finding adequate guarantees for a political solution leads to stopping the Saudi aggression, lifting the siege, achieving peace and ending the suffering of the Yemeni people
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has called on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to take steps to end the suffering of civilians.
The MSF demanded the parties to the conflict to ensure the safety of health facilities and their workers and give them the opportunity to do their job effectively and safely.
" The organization (MSF) does its efforts in areas that are most in need of medical and humanitarian assistance and we ask all parties to the conflict to respect our work, " MSF's official Will Turner said in a press release.
Turner confirmed that the organization will remain committed to providing health care to patients and respond to the emergency medical needs and will stand by the side of the conflict victims.