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.
President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi chaired on Thursday a meeting of the Supreme Military and Security Committee.
The meeting touched upon the latest developments on the ground and the current Houthi escalation in and around the capital Sana'a which represents a threat to security, stability and public tranquility in the city and coincides with current efforts to bring in a solution for the current crisis.
The UN annual report of the State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI 2014) has said that Yemen is one of the most food-insecure countries in the world.
"Conflict, economic downturn, low agricultural productivity and poverty have made Yemen one of the most food-insecure countries in the world", according to the SOFI 2014 report published on Tuesday by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
"Besides restoring political security and economic stability, the government aims to reduce hunger by one-third by 2015 and to make 90 percent of the population food-secure by 2020."
The report showed that the government also "aims to reduce the current critical rates of child malnutrition by at least one percentage point per year."
The Assistant of the UN Secretary-General and his Special Adviser for Yemen Jamal Benomar on Wednesday held talks with Abdul Malik al-Houthi in the province of Saada in the framework of consultations with concerned parties in order to find a peaceful solution to the current crisis in Yemen.
Benomar said that the talks, which lasted three hours, focused on solutions to the crisis that can be agreed on by all parties and be based on the outcomes of the comprehensive national dialogue conference.
The Human Rights Watch has announced today granting its Alison Des Forges Award for the Extraordinary Activism for 2014 to four activists including Yemeni female activist Arwa Abdu Othman.
HRW said in a release posted in the organization's website, the prestigious award has been granted this year to four courageous activists from North Korea, Africa, India and Yemen.
"The winners are among voices calling for justice in their countries and working tirelessly for protecting rights of others and their dignity," said the organization, making it clear that it chose Arawa Othman because she is a key activist working for ending child marriage in Yemen.
A military raid on houses in Hota town of Lahj province resulted on Sunday in arresting three terrorists elements, a military source at the Fourth Military Region Command said.
The military source said that a number of automatic weapons and RPG launchers and silencer pistol were found during the raid, noting that the military and security services are still investigating and pursuing the remnants of the terrorist elements and cells who fled from the area.
The European Union has denounced any act aiming at diminishing the political transfer in Yemen, stressing that parties involved in armed clashes must abandon their weapons they seized from state's army and to abide by effective laws.
In a release issued by the EU Commission today on the occasion of the International Day of Democracy under the motto "Sharing Youth in the Democratic Process," it made it clear the world is focusing on involving youth in the democratic process.
"Half of the population in Yemen is under 15 years and one third of the population is between 15-29," the release said. The released added that the Yemeni youth cannot wait more as they are aspiring for more prosperous future and calling for a new Yemen people share power and resources away of dominance of any group or individuals.
President Abd-Rabb Mansour Hadi on Saturday met with a number of Sheikhs, dignitaries, and social figures from Heziaz area, southern the capital Sana'a.
Hadi during the meeting said that Yemen now is facing critical situation due to current Houthi escalation in and around the capital Sana'a, which needs more caution and avoiding not entering in a conflict with Houthi armed militias.
"We don't mind, and under the constitution and laws, to organize peaceful protests, but trying to storm government facilities, schools, police stations or houses is something forbidden,'' President Hadi said.
He urged everyone to bear his national responsibility in order to avoid fighting in the capital
Yemen's ambassador to the United Kingdom Abdullah al-Radi met on Friday in London with British Minister of State for Middle East Affairs Tobias Ellwood.
In the meeting, al-Radi and Ellwood discussed the underway arrangements for the next meeting of Friends of Yemen Group scheduled on September 24 in New York, as well as the aspects of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
The British minister confirmed his country's strong support to President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi to complete the entitlements of the transitional stage and translate the outcomes of the national dialogue conference (NDC). He stressed that the international community would not allow any group or party to obstruct Yemen's exit march to the prospects of harmony ,peace, development and prosperity.