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J Hum Evol. 2013 Jul;65(1):1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.01.012. Epub 2013 Mar 5.

The oldest human fossil in Europe, from Orce (Spain).

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Museo Arqueológico de Granada, Carrera del Darro 41-43, 18010 Granada, Spain.


The Orce region has one of the best late Pliocene and early Pleistocene continental paleobiological records of Europe. It is situated in the northeastern sector of the intramontane Guadix-Baza Basin (Granada, Andalusia, southern Spain). Here we describe a new fossil hominin tooth from the site of Barranco León, dated between 1.02 and 1.73 Ma (millions of years ago) by Electron Spin Resonance (ESR), which, in combination with paleomagnetic and biochronologic data, is estimated to be close to 1.4 Ma. While the range of dates obtained from these various methods overlaps with those published for the Sima del Elefante hominin locality (1.2 Ma), the overwhelming majority of evidence points to an older age. Thus, at the moment, the Barranco León hominin is the oldest from Western Europe.

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