European hominids 1.2 million yrs old!

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Rokcet Scientist

European hominids 1.2 million yrs old!

Post by Rokcet Scientist » Sat Jun 30, 2007 6:36 am


Saturday, 30 June 2007, 05:08 GMT 06:08 UK

'First west Europe tooth' found

Scientists in Spain say that they have found a tooth from a distant human ancestor that is more than one million years old.
The tooth, a pre-molar, was discovered on Wednesday at the Atapuerca site in northern Spain's Burgos Province.


Image
The species from which it came is not certain. (Scale bar: 10mm)

It represented western Europe's "oldest human fossil remain", a statement from the Atapuerca Foundation said.

The foundation said it was awaiting final results before publishing its findings in a scientific journal.

Human story

Several caves containing evidence of prehistoric human occupation have been found in Atapuerca.

In 1994 fossilised remains called Homo antecessor (Pioneer Man) - believed to date back 800,000 years - were unearthed there.

Scientists had previously thought that Homo heidelbergensis, dating back 600,000 years, were Europe's oldest inhabitants.

Jose Maria Bermudez de Castro, co-director of research at the site, said that the newly discovered tooth could be as much as 1.2 million years old.

Sediment dates

"Now we finally have the anatomical evidence of the hominids that fabricated tools more than one million years ago," the statement said.

It was not yet possible to confirm to which species the tooth belonged, it said, but initial analyses "allow us to suppose it is an ancestor of Homo antecessor".

Mr Bermudez de Castro said the tooth appeared to come from an individual aged between 20 and 25.

"There is no doubt, from the (geological) level where the tooth was found, that it belonged to the oldest European found to date," the French news agency AFP quoted him as saying.

Fossil finds in Georgia in the Caucasus represent the oldest evidence of humans anywhere in Europe. Digging at the medieval town of Dmanisi, 80km (50 miles) south-west of Tbilisi, has yielded skulls that are 1.8 million years old.

BBC article "'First west Europe tooth' found": http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6256356.stm

Donna
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European Tooth

Post by Donna » Sat Jun 30, 2007 11:57 am

Some of the finds lately are exciting. I just wish they got more publicity. Is it possible to extract DNA from something that old and small?
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Post by Minimalist » Sat Jun 30, 2007 12:20 pm

It's close to the proposed upper limit of 1 million years for obtaining DNA but who knows anymore.

They claim to have recovered some protein or something from a T-Rex bone not so long ago.
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Rokcet Scientist

Post by Rokcet Scientist » Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:23 pm

Minimalist wrote:It's close to the proposed upper limit of 1 million years for obtaining DNA but who knows anymore.

They claim to have recovered some protein or something from a T-Rex bone not so long ago.
That T.Rex soft tissue looks like it's stretching it of course. But who knows. Haven't heard of positive DNA identification of it yet. Must be a tricky process. If feasible. So it could be a few years before we hear about it next.

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Cognito
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T. rex

Post by Cognito » Tue Jul 03, 2007 8:02 am

That T.Rex soft tissue looks like it's stretching it of course. But who knows. Haven't heard of positive DNA identification of it yet. Must be a tricky process. If feasible. So it could be a few years before we hear about it next.
It is my understanding that the group was able to extract protein and thereby extrapolate their data to infer some of its DNA structure. Makes sense since this was a protein lab:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4379577.stm

Even if there is only protein available in the European tooth the protein structure could be compared to similarities in other hominids. Cheddar man yielded mtDNA, but he was "only" 9000 years old.
Natural selection favors the paranoid

Rokcet Scientist

Post by Rokcet Scientist » Wed Jul 04, 2007 4:33 pm

Picture that...! Naaaah, 9,000 years old cheddar is probably waaay too 'rich' for me, thanks, Cog!

8)

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