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Sea gives up Neanderthal fossil

June 16, 2009

Part of a Neanderthal man’s skull has been dredged up from the North Sea, in the first confirmed find of its kind.

Scientists in Leiden, in the Netherlands, have unveiled the specimen – a fragment from the front of a skull belonging to a young adult male.

Analysis of chemical “isotopes” in the 60,000-year-old fossil suggest a carnivorous diet, matching results from other Neanderthal specimens.

The North Sea is one of the world’s richest areas for mammal fossils.

But the remains of ancient humans are scarce; this is the first known specimen to have been recovered from the sea bed anywhere in the world.

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