Re-dating of a fossil human jawbone from a cave in England may help answer questions about the advent and spread of modern humans in Europe.
First excavated in 1927 from the limestone context of Kent’s Cavern in southwestern England, the fragment of a modern human upper jaw bone (maxilla) containing three teeth was dated by Oxford University scientists in 1989 to about 35,000 B.P.
But there was a fly in the ointment.
The specimen had traces of modern glue on the surface, a result of the efforts to conserve the bone after discovery. This, according to scientists who examined the maxilla at a later time, would skew any results from dating the object.
Said Beth Shapiro, Shaffer Associate Professor of Biology at Penn State University and a member of a new research team examining the jawbone, ”we knew we were going to have to do additional testing to re-date the bone.” Read more.