Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Australians shed new light on Neanderthals

A reconstructed Neanderthal skeleton, right, with a modern human skeleton. Photo: AP

Australian scientists have re-dated a collection of Neanderthal bones from southern Europe and found they are about 10,000 years older than first thought.

The new evidence means many of the region's Neanderthal specimens may be much older than previous studies suggest, and casts doubt on the date archaeologists believe the human subspecies became extinct.

Since the early 1990s several research groups have claimed to have radio-carbon dated some of the youngest Neanderthal bones, several just 32,000 years old, in a region known as Iberia, modern Spain and Portugal.
But the leader of the new research, Rachel Wood, said many archaeologists were not convinced of the specimens' ages.

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