Homo sapiens arrived in Europe thousands of years earlier than thought

(ORDO NEWS) — A team of scientists explored a cave in France and found evidence that people got there 10,000 years earlier than previously thought. The corresponding study is published in Science Advances.

Archaeological evidence suggests that our ancestors, Homo sapiens, settled in Europe approximately 45,000 to 43,000 years ago.

About 40 thousand years ago, Neanderthals practically disappear in Europe (according to other sources, they could survive on the territory of the Iberian Peninsula up to 37-30 thousand years ago).

The coincidence in the appearance of man and the disappearance of our “cousins” is quite obvious and it was not entirely clear how Homo sapiens could “extirpate” another species of Homo so quickly.

Now the situation has become somewhat clearer, because people settled in Europe 10 thousand years earlier than it was thought.

Homo sapiens arrived in Europe thousands of years earlier than thought 2                     Sapiens made identical tools at the same time, being at different ends of Europe

“People to France, Neanderthals from France”

A group of archaeologists and paleoanthropologists explored the Mandrine Cave, southern France. Thousands of years ago, this place was literally a strategically important point, because the cave is located in the valley of the Rhone River, where it flows between two mountain ranges.

Tens of thousands of years ago, herds of animals migrated through this valley, and the inhabitants of the cave hunted them.

Scientists carefully examined Mandrin, because there are many archaeological artifacts left there. Unexpectedly, stone tools were discovered there, which were created by people, and not by Neanderthals.

These tools are about 1,500 flint spearheads, which at the same time were made by Homo sapiens in Asia. It is also an obvious fact that these tools were not made by Neanderthals, was that there are no finds in the archaeological layers below and above that were technologically similar.

But the most interesting find is a child’s tooth, which definitely belongs to a person – Homo sapiens. In fact, this put an end to the question of who lived here. And the most interesting thing is that people, according to research, chose Mandrin Cave 54 thousand years ago.

Prior to this, the earliest discovery of human bones in Europe were artifacts from the cave of Bacho Kiro, Bulgaria, whose age is about 45 thousand years. This is 1,700 kilometers west of Mandrin.

Further research showed that Homo sapiens lived in the cave for only about 40 years, and then they disappeared – they left on their own, or they were “helped” to leave.

Homo sapiens arrived in Europe thousands of years earlier than thought 3

                                                     Teeth from Mandrin Cave: level E-found human tooth

What about Neanderthals?

Our cousins ​​lived in Mandrin Cave before people got there and after they left. Genetic studies of Neanderthals have shown that from about 52,000 years ago, their population begins to decline until it disappears. This may indicate that it was then that “closer contacts” began between our direct ancestors and Homo neanderthalensis.

This cannot directly confirm that Homo sapiens really populated Europe much earlier, as early as 54 thousand years ago, and began to displace Neanderthals from their “habitable territories”.

The question of how long the “parallel people” lived to is still open. There is indirect evidence that they lived on the territory of the Iberian Peninsula before the time of 30 – 28 thousand years ago. However, these data may be questionable. Most likely, Neanderthals lived to the time of 37 – 35 thousand years ago.


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