Researchers in Spain are reporting the discovery of a 1.2 million-year-old tooth at Atapuerca, an archaeological site in Spain’s Burgos province which has previously yielded tools and other evidence of hominin occupation, including fossils that are more recent, dating to around 800,000 BP. This tooth, in addition to other finds in Georgia and Spain, puts hominins in Europe 1.8-1.2 mya.
“Now we finally have the anatomical evidence of the hominids that fabricated tools more than one million years ago,” a statement from the Atapuerca Foundation asserts.
“There is no doubt, from the (geological) level where the tooth was found, that it belonged to the oldest European found to date,” said Jose Maria Bermudez de Castro, co-director of research at the site.
The tooth is in the Homo erectus timeframe, although morphological differences have led the researchers to dub the more recent Atapuerca remains Homo antecessor, and is easily 1 million years older than Neandertal occupation of Europe.