Originally published 02/13/2013
A fragment of lower jaw recovered from a Serbian cave has now been dated as the oldest hominin ancestor found in this part of Europe. The fossil was dated to between 397,000 and 525,000 years old, a time when distinctly Neanderthal traits began to appear in Europe. The evolution of these traits was strongly influenced by periodic isolation of groups of individuals, caused by glacial episodes. According to research published in February 2012 in the open access journal PLoS ONE, the individual probably evolved under different conditions than populations who inhabited more western parts of the continent during the same time frame....