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 United Nations has warned of the accelerating collapse of basic services in Yemen due to the aggression, siege and fighting which was described as “devastating.”
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Johannes van der Klaauw said in a press conference in Cairo that the current estimations indicate that more than 14 million people in Yemen cannot get sufficient health care.
He noted that 20 governorates, out of 22 governorates, are affected and that about 2.3 million people were forced to leave their homes which created a deteriorating and desperate humanitarian situation over the past seven months, stressing the importance of promptly finding out a political solution before it is over.
The UN official said that 3 million children and women are in need for medication because of malnutrition while 1.8 million children are deprived of schooling since March.
Klaauw pointed out the increasing deterioration of the basic services as a direct result of the dispute and the lack of necessary supplies to pay salaries or to cover maintenance costs.
Oxfam welcomed on Friday the changing of the British policy on exporting weapons to Saudi Arabia which is used in its aggression against Yemen.
The Oxfam emphasized citizens are in the fire line not only because of weapons, but also of the siege imposed on Yemen which affected its main services and economy.
Josephine Hatton, director of the Middle East program at Oxfam, said in a statement the organization welcomed the alteration of the British attitude towards the denial of Saudi Arabia in targeting citizens in its airstrikes against Yemen, and insisting to conduct serious investigations in that regard.
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond called on Thursday to carry out a serious investigation on the Saudi air raids against Yemen.
In an interview with the BBC, Hammond said the denial of Saudi in targeting citizens by its airstrikes against Yemen since March is not enough, serious investigations must been conducted in that regard.
A suicide bomber blew himself up on Tuesday in front of the Faculty of Agriculture in Ibb University, a security source said.
"The explosion did not cause any casualties," the source said, noting that the suicide bomber detonated himself before he was arrested by the security men, who noticed he was wearing an explosive belt.
The Médecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) organization said on Monday that thousands of Yemeni people still incapable to receive medical care because of the absence of transportation means and closing the health facilities.
In its statement, the MSF said many of health facilities have totally or partly been destroyed as a result of the airstrikes and war in the country.
MOSCOW– Russia affirmed on Saturday its support to the exerted efforts to hold a new talks' round on the Yemeni crisis and with the participation of the various sides.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation said, in its statement issued Saturday, it is important to do all the possible efforts in order to end violence in Yemen and reach peace all over the country via implementing dialogue gathering all the Yemeni political powers.