The story of the oldest modern European continues

article-0-04cc6112000005dc-990_468x5501Yesterday, 4th of May, 2009, scientists made public the reconstructed face of the oldest modern European. The story of his discovery in Carpathian mountains (Romania) seven years ago was presented to you in a previous post. Now the bones reveal a face of a man or a woman not very different of our faces, although they were carbon-dated to between 34,000 and 36,000 years ago. By then Europe was occupied by two species of human. They were the Neanderthals, who had arrived from Africa tens of thousands of years earlier, and the more recent modern humans, also known as Cro-Magnons.
The sculped head was created by Richard Neave, one of Britain’s leading forensic scientists, using fossilised fragments of skull and jawbone found in a cave in Romania.
The clay sculpture shows the close links between the first European settlers and their immediate African ancestors. We can now see how one of the earliest known modern European – a man or woman who hunted deer and gathered fruit and herbs in ancient forests more than 35,000 years ago – looked like. The skull doesn’t look European or Asian or African. It looks like a mixture of all of them.
Although the skull is similar to a modern human head, it has a larger cranium, is more robust and has larger molars. Although it is impossible to work out the skin colour of the prehistoric hunter, it is likely to have been darker than modern white Europeans. Experts also aren’t able to tell if it was a male or a female.
It is believed that modern humans evolved in Africa 200,000 to 100,000 years ago. Our ancestors left Africa around 60,000 years ago and migrated around the world, replacing other branches of the family tree which had left the continent earlier.
The earliest modern Europeans lived in huts and caves and used stone tools and spears made from antlers, painted on the walls of their caves and made jewellery from shells.


About this entry