In a new study, published in Scientific Reports, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History teamed up with international partners to re-examine the fossil and archaeological record of Shuqba Cave.
It’s the first time this human tooth from the site has been examined in detail, alongside a major study of the stone tools.
The site of Shuqba Cave was first excavated by British archaeologist Dorothy Garrod in the spring of 1928, who found stone tools and animal bones cemented in cave deposits, as well as a unique, large human molar tooth. The tooth was kept in a private collection for most of the twentieth century, but eventually made its way to the Museum, allowing researchers to take another look at it. They realised it belonged to a Neanderthal aged between seven and 12 years old.
Both Homo sapiens and Neanderthals shared the use of a wide suite of stone tool technologies. Recently Nubian Levallois technology has been argued to have been exclusively used by Homo sapiens .
This is the first time they’ve been found in direct association with a Neanderthal fossil, which suggests we can’t make a simple link between this technology and Homo sapiens .