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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Scientists reveal face of the first European

Scientists reveal face of the first European
The face of the first European has been recreated from bone fragments by scientists.

By Urmee Khan, Digital and Media Correspondent
Last Updated: 8:36PM BST 04 May 2009

The first modern European Forensic artist Richard Neave reconstructed the face based on skull fragments from 35000 years ago. Photo: BBC The head was rebuilt in clay based on an incomplete skull and jawbone discovered in a cave in the south west of the Carpathian Mountains in Romania by potholers.

Using radiocarbon analysis scientists say the man or woman, it is still not possible to determine the sex, lived between 34,000 and 36,000 years ago.

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Giant lions once roamed BritainEurope was then occupied by both Neanderthal man, who had been in the region for thousands of years, and anatomically-modern humans – Homo sapiens.

Modern humans first arrived in Europe from Africa.

The skull appears very like humans today, but it also displays more archaic traits, such as very large molar teeth, which led some scientists to speculate the skull may belong to a hybrid between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals – an idea discounted by other experts.

Erik Trinkaus, professor of anthropology at Washington University in Missouri, said the jaw was the oldest, directly-dated modern human fossil. "Taken together, the material is the first that securely documents what modern humans looked like when they spread into Europe," he said.

The model was created by Richard Neave, a forensic artist, for a BBC programme about the origins of the human race and evolution.

The Incredible Human Journey will be shown on BBC Two at 9.30pm on May 10.


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