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.
GPC celebrated its 32 anniversary where it was found on August 24, 1982 as the first Yemeni political organization with the participation of all political forces.
celebratory events of the GPC were celebrated in the Sana'a and its branches in various governorates of Yemen.
Military units of the second Military Region raided on Monday a villa in 60 street in Mukala, which was used as a den by a terrorist cell to carry out terrorist acts.
A military source at the Military Region command said on Tuesday that the military forces surrounded the villa after receiving the information about the existence of a terrorist cell and clashed with the terrorists.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demanded on Monday Yemeni authorities to immediately increase protection for media workers in the country.
IFJ's renewed appeal is following an escalation in attacks over the last few days, including the murder of a senior journalist.
According to the Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate (YJS), Abdul-Rahman Hameed Aldin, who worked for Sana'a Radio, was shot in the head last Friday [15 August] by an armed group in the capital Sana'a. He was taken to hospital where he passed away the following day.
GPC Leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh, expressed his thanks and appreciation for the brotherly feelings the leaders and representatives of civil society organizations who have expressed strong disapproval and condemnation of the criminal and terrorist attempt that targeted his life through the tunnel, which was dug to his home.
An official military source at the First Military Region said Sunday that the army forces raided on Saturday night a terrorist cell in the city of Cotton and killed four terrorists and arrested five others.
Security forces have destroyed three car bombs in the Sixty-Meter Street in Mukalla, Hadramout governorate before arriving their targets, a military source said on Thursday.
The source said that a number of terrorists were killed and three soldiers wounded during their clashes with the terrorist attackers.
The defense ministry announced to reinforce the armed forces after the militants have killed 14 soldiers near Shibam city, Hadramout governorate.
President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi along with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh performed on Monday the prayer of Eid al-Fitr at Al-Saleh Mosque in the capital Sana'a.
The Eid prayer was also attended by parliament Speaker, Yahya al-Raei his deputy Hamir al-Ahmer, President Hadi's advisors, and Prime Minister's deputies, Ahmed Obaid Bin Daghr and Abdullah Mohssen al-Akwa'a, besides a number of ministers, military and security leaders, the heads of the political parties, civil society organizations, and social, political and cultural figures.
Assistant General Secretaries and head of the GPC regulatory agency sent telegrams of congratulations on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr on behalf of all the leaders of their regulators sectors to the leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, GPC Chairman, and to Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi - President of Yemen and First Deputy Chairman of the Conference GPC, on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr.