Archaeologists from Northern Italy have recovered a prehistoric tooth that they determined it belonged to one of the region’s final Neanderthals.
About The Discovery
The tooth was found in the Berici Hills from the Veneto region.
The team of researchers from the Universities of Bologna and Ferrara discovered a small canine tooth that most likely belonged to an 11/12 year-Neanderthal child.
It is the most recent Neanderthal-related discovery in the country.
Homo Neanderthalensis was a subspecies of humans who lived in Eurasia until approximately 40,000 years ago.
Neanderthals were similar to Homo sapiens in many ways, though they had stockier builds, shorter limbs, and bigger heads and noses.
Archaeologists know when Neanderthals went extinct, but the reason why that happened is yet to be understood.
Importance Of The Discovery
Some theories speculate that Neanderthals went extinct due to a mix of disease, climate change, and aggression from early European modern humans.
The many variables that come in play labeled the discovery “extremely important.”
Genetic analysis of the tooth revealed that its owner was a descendant of Neanderthals living where Belgium is today.
The discovery might suggest that the Veneto hills might contain more mysteries about the species’ extinction.
Stefano Benazzi, a professor at the University of Bologna, stated:
“This small tooth is extremely important. This is even more relevant if we consider that, when this child who lived in Veneto lost their tooth, Homo Sapiens communities were already present a thousand kilometers away in Bulgaria.”
The discovery was published in the Journal of Human Evolution.
Matteo Romandini, the study’s lead author, stated:
“This work stems from the synergy between different disciplines and specializations.”