The Citizen (Gauteng)

Neandertha­l fossil find thrills

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– The fossil remains of nine Neandertha­l men have been found in a cave in Italy, the culture ministry announced at the weekend, a major discovery in the study of our ancient cousins.

All the individual­s found in the Guattari Cave in San Felice Circeo, on the coast between Rome and Naples, are believed to be adults, although one might have been a youth. Eight of them date to between 50 000 and 68 000 years ago, while the oldest could be 90 000 or 100 000 years old, the ministry said.

“Together with two others found in the past on the site, they bring the total number of individual­s present in the Guattari Cave to 11, confirming it as one of the most significan­t sites in the world for the history of Neandertha­l man,” the ministry said.

Francesco di Mario, who led the excavation project, said it represente­d a Neandertha­l population that would have been quite large in the area.

Local director of anthropolo­gy Mario Rubini said the discovery will shed “important light on the history of the peopling of Italy”. –

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