The Atlantic

The Story of Humans and Neanderthals in Europe Is Being Rewritten

A 210,000-year-old skull is the oldest Homo sapiens fossil found outside Africa.
Source: Katerina Harvati / Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen

In 1978, in a cave called Apidima at the southern end of Greece, a group of anthropologists found a pair of human-like skulls. One had a face, but was badly distorted; the other was just the left half of a braincase. Researchers guessed that they might be Neanderthals, or perhaps another ancient hominin. And since they were entombed together, in a block of stone no bigger than a microwave, “it was always assumed that they were the same [species] and came from the same time period,” says Katerina Harvati from Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen.

That’s wrong. By thoroughly analyzing both skulls using modern techniques, that they are very different, in both age and identity.

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