Teeth reveal the ancient migration patterns of humans

By - Bad Breath Expert

SUMMARY: Teeth from 40,000 years ago provide new insight into human history.

Posted: April 29, 2015

A study published on April 23, 2015, in the journal Science provides new evidence of the human migration to what is now Europe approximately 40,000 to 45,000 years ago. The paper, titled "The makers of the Protoaurignacian and implications for Neandertal extinction," relies on two teeth that were found on separate archeological digs in Italy and carbon dated to 40,000 years. This information illuminates that Homo sapiens were in fact in Europe when Neanderthals fell into extinction.

Research and findings 
In the scientific community, there has been a longstanding debate as to what caused Neanderthals to quickly die out. This evidence may suggest that humans, who were notably more advanced, brought on the demise of their ancient related species. During this period, the Aurignacian culture (Homo sapiens) produced the world's first musical instruments and cave drawings, according to the Daily Mail. Scientists also note that these intelligent humans also created advanced tools and weapons that may have given them an advantage over their counterparts.

Researchers believe these rare teeth samples represent some of the oldest human remains in Europe. The team used an advanced method to extract a DNA sample from one of the teeth to confirm that it in fact belonged to a human being. Considering it's hard to recreate this period in early human history, experts don't propose any exact catalyst behind the Neanderthals' demise. As more teeth and other samples are found across Europe, scientists can slowly build a more complete profile of human migration periods during this era. 

Nicholas J. Conard and Michael Boluss of the University of Tübingen, Germany called the research, "a welcome step forward in establishing the narrative of the colonization of Europe by modern humans," in a commentary accompanying the research paper. They continued, "The archaeological and human fossil records will almost certainly prove to be more complex and fascinating than our current modes suggest."

Notably, both teeth used in the research were human incisors. The scientists state that Neanderthals "date to 41,030 to 39,260 calendar years before the present," which lines up with the dates of the human teeth discovered. The teeth were found years ago - one in 1976 and the other in 1992 - but could not be verified as belonging to Homo sapiens until now. While the teeth do not belong to Neanderthals, scientists cannot rule out the possibility that the teeth belong to specimens that were interbred of the two cultures. 

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