Neanderthal tooth from 48,000 years ago found in Italy

Hyperaxion Sep 19, 2020

According to researchers of the Universities of Bologna and Ferrara, the milk tooth belonged to a child aged between 11 and 12 years old who lived in the region millennia ago.

A 48,000-year-old milk tooth was found in the Berici Hills, in the province of Veneto, northern Italy, by scientists of the Universities of Bologna and Ferrara.

The artifact belonged to a young Neanderthal aged 11 to 12, according to a study published by the team in the October issue of the Journal of Human Evolution.

Neanderthal tooth from 48,000 years ago found in Italy
(Credit: Journal of Human Evolution).

“This work stems from the synergy between different disciplines and specializations,” said lead author Matteo Romandini, who works at the University of Bologna.

“High-resolution prehistoric field-archaeology allowed us to find the tooth, then we employed virtual approaches to the analyses of its shape, genome, taphonomy and of its radiometric profile.”

Throughout Europe

Genetic analysis revealed that the owner of the tooth was related, on the mother’s part, to Neanderthals who lived in present-day Belgium.

This makes the Veneto site a key area for understanding the gradual extinction of this human species in Europe.

(Credit: Journal of Human Evolution).

One of the last Neanderthals

The tooth belonged to one of the last young Neanderthals who lived in the region of Italy millennia ago, which makes this tooth an important piece of archaeological evidence.

“This is even more relevant if we consider that, when this child who lived in Veneto lost his tooth, Homo Sapiens communities were already present a thousand kilometres away in Bulgaria,” said research coordinator Stefano Benazzi, a professor at the University of Bologna.

Tooth was found in the Berici Hills
Tooth was found in the Berici Hills, northern Italy. (Credit: Journal of Human Evolution).

Researchers are still analyzing the tooth and other artifacts found in the region and, according to them, preliminary results show that the site has been used for a long period of time, as there is evidence of hunting and killing of large animals.

“The manufacturing of tools, mainly made of flint, shows Neanderthals’ great adaptability and their systematic and specialized exploitation of the raw materials available in this area,” said Marco Peresanti, co-author of the study and professor at the University of Ferrara.

Related topics:

Neanderthals

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