Altamura Man: Skeleton Stuck in Stone Yields Oldest Neanderthal DNA

By on April 8, 2015

Tests reveal the fossilized remains of the Altamura Man are around 150,000 years old and contain the oldest Neanderthal DNA ever extracted.
The ancient Neanderthal remains of the Altamura Man stuck in stone in a cave in Italy

A recent study of the Altamura Man, an ancient skeleton embedded in a limestone cave in Italy, has yielded surprising results. The fossilized Homo neanderthalensis, which was discovered in the Grotta di Lamalunga by chance in 1993, have been difficult to study due to the rock and thick calcite layers covering it.

A research project that began in 2009, however, recently concluded through Uranium–thorium dating that the calcite most likely formed there during the Medium Pleistocene period. That means the Altamura Man lived somewhere between 128,000 and 187,000 years old.

Using a sample from the scapula, the study also revealed that the prehistoric remains may contain the oldest Neanderthal DNA ever extracted.

Fossilized remains of the Altamura Man embedded in rock in a cave in Italy

via Research Italy


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One Comment

  1. Dante Fontana

    April 30, 2015 at 1:55 am

    This man Has been discovered by my brother Manlio, is quite funny to see on cult of weird these pics just together with my 1947 Buick Hearse, seems we have a Family psycho-death friendly attitude!

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