‘Neanderthal’ fossils are actually medieval human remains

Neanderthal fossil is medievalNeanderthal fossils, found in an Italian cave in the 1980s, are actually remains of medieval humans, a new research has found.

The research reanalysed a tooth, which was found in a cave in northeastern Italy along with a finger bone and another tooth.

Originally, researchers identified these scraps as belonging to Neanderthals, the early cousins of humans who went extinct about 30,000 years ago. However, the new study found the bones to belong to modern Homo Sapiens.

The teeth and the bone were found in the San Bernardino Cave in the 1980s in a rock layer dating back to Neanderthal times, approximately 28,000 to 59,000 years ago.

“The taxonomical discrimination of the species was based mainly on the layer the human fossil was found instead of the morphological features,” or shape and size of the bones, study researcher Stefano Benazzi, a physical anthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany told ‘LiveScience’.

The size and shape of the teeth were consistent with belonging to Homo sapiens, but their rock layer suggested Neanderthal.

A look back at the excavations revealed murky geology – at some point in the late middle ages, a wall to seal off the cave had been built, potentially disturbing the rock layers and preventing the researchers from using the layers as proof of age.

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