Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Evidence for the missing link from an East-coast cave in Spain

Eva Blanca and José Conrado
Casa de la Cultura, Paterna, Spain

The precise evolutionary traits of modern hominids have been obscured by the lack of a continuous linkage with our primate ancestors. We report here the preliminary description of a collection of tools, shells and bones, found at the upper level of a deserted cave at Paterna archaeological site (Paterna, Valencia, East-coast Spain), which suggests the existence of a novel Homo species (H. levantiscus) defining the evolutionary transition from primitive apes to modern humans (H. sapiens). Paleomagnetism and radioisotope techniques, as well as food-based biostratigraphy analysis, have dated the samples in the very late Holocene. The bones included well-preserved pieces from chicken thighs and wings, as well as from Mediterranean-rabbit anterior and posterior legs. All shells found at the site were from the clochina local variety of Atlantic mussel. Careful surface examination of the bones revealed bite-like scratched traces, suggesting the consumption of the meat in situ by flesh-eating extinct humans. More importantly, several cooking ironed-artefacts were found at the same stratum, including a flattened, double-handled pan heavily burned at its bottom, and a link of medium size which resembled the so-called missing link between humans and apes. The link was unbroken, suggesting an important role in preserving the continuity of Hominoidae family along evolution. Our findings shed some light on the ancient roots of H. sapiens species at the Mediterranean area and its evolutionary relationship with other hominid- and ape-species, and provide evidence on the unequivocal origin of paella at Spanish Levant region.
Supplementary information at El Garrofer.

1 comment:

  1. I found an interesting bone in my paella that may very well contribute to solve your paleontological puzzle. The local government of Paterna should launch a campaign to all paella-eaters in the region so that no bone goes to the garbage without being properly identified, dammit!