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Oldest ever Neanderthal remains found in Central-Eastern Europe

In recently published Scientific Reports, prestigious Nature Research journal, archaeologists prove that the remains of a Neanderthal discovered in the Stajnia Cave (Silesia) may date back as far as 116,000 years. One of members of the international researcher team was Prof. Adam Nadachowski from the PAS Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals.

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Using advanced dating techniques, scientists were able, with high probability, to estimate the age of the first Neanderthal remains found in 2008 in Silesia, Poland. The initial dates given to the Neanderthal molar, remains and tools, was approximately 52-42 thousand years ago. This did not satisfy scientists. They carried out genetic analysis of Neanderthal molar, including mitochondrial DNA, which resulted in a new dating. Its age is now estimated at approx. 116 thousand years.

The Stajnia Cave DNA was found to be more closely related to the North Caucasus population than with that of Western Europe. These results prove the extraordinary mobility of our distant ancestors who, due to climate change, migrated over great distances in search of food. Further research on the remains of the Stajnia Cave will be crucial to clarify when these migrations took place and what the social relations were like between the Neanderthal groups living on the territory of today’s Europe.

The research was conducted by scientists from an international team, including the University of Wrocław, the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Polish Geological Institute and the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig.

For full details, see the following article “New perspectives on Neanderthal dispersal and turnover from Stajnia Cave (Poland)” in Scientific Reports

In the photo: Life-size human figures (Neanderthals) on display in the Raj Cave

Source of image: Photo from private archive of M. Wojtkowiak