Altamura Man: Skeleton Stuck in Stone Yields Oldest Neanderthal DNA
Tests reveal the fossilized remains of the Altamura Man are around 150,000 years old and contain the oldest Neanderthal DNA ever extracted.
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.
via Research Italy