Reexamined fossils yield startling results


July 17, 2019

Two fossils found in Apidima Cave southern Greece,  in the early 70s have yielded startling results after undergoing reanalysis, according to a paper published in this week’s edition of the journal Nature and named Apidima 1 and 2.  The paper is entitled “Apidima Cave fossils provide earliest evidence of Homo sapiens in Eurasia” by Harvati et al. Both are partial crania  ad the latter is morphologically Neanderthal and dated 170,000 years ago (using the uranium series technique). Both specimens were found in close proximity in breccia.

Apoidima 1 is even more fragmentary then its companion and was assumed to be Neanderthal also. However, closer analysis and pains taking reconstruction bye Harvati and her team has disclosed this to be Homo sapiens and dated to 210,000 years ago. Apidima 1 thus becomes the oldest evidence of H. sapiens in Europe.

In a companion article  Eric Delson postulates Apidima 1 represents and early and "unsuccessful" for ay by an H. sapiens  population in the region which did not survive, to be replaced later bye a Neanderthal population.

Caution should be exercised when evaluating uranium series results, advises dr. Curtis Marean, Foundation Professor and associate director, Institute of Human Origins, School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University.

Read the paper by Harvati et al. in Nature.

Now, in the most recent edition of the journal Nature, this article has been updated. Read the updated paper here