Bad Breath

A complete set of 30,000-year-old teeth found in Portugal will answer important evolutionary questions about early modern humans.

A complete set of 30,000-year-old teeth found in Portugal will answer important evolutionary questions about early modern humans. "The teeth are part of the remarkably complete remains of a child found in the Abrigo do Lagar Velho, Portugal and excavated in 1998-9 under the leadership of Professor João Zilhão of the University of Bristol. Classified as a modern human with Neanderthal ancestry, the child raises controversial questions about how extensively Neanderthals and modern human groups of African descent interbred when they came into contact in Europe. 'Early modern humans', whose anatomy is basically similar to that of the human race today, emerged over 50,000 years ago and it has long been the common perception that little has changed in human biology since then. When considering the biology of late archaic humans such as the Neanderthals, it is thus common to compare them with living humans and largely ignore the biology of the early modern humans who were close in time to the Neanderthals."

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