French archaeologists say they have discovered historically significant pre-Neanderthal remains which give insight into the behavior of the extinct human species. Tara Cleary reports.
These pre-Neanderthal bones could shed light on the everyday behavior of the closest extinct relative to our human species. Discovered here in northern France at a building site, the three arm bones could be close to 250,000 years old, says Bruno Maureille director of research at French Public research Institute. SOUNDBITE: Bruno Maureille, Director of Research, French Public Research Institute CNRS, saying (French): "First we have the chronological context, which allows us to assume that we are in the presence of a member of the Neanderthal family. We have a geographical context, which also corresponds with this hypothesis." It's a rare find - only 12 other sites in Western Europe have yielded significant archaeological remains. Maureille says the bones are of particular scientific interest as they hint at the behavior of our ancestors. SOUNDBITE: Bruno Maureille, Director of Research, French Public Research Institute CNRS, saying (English): "We have had the chance to have a humerus with a specific relief on the incision of the deltoid muscle, and this trait helps us to discuss a part of the behavior of this specimen." The ridges on the bones, says Maureille, indicate that the individual repeatedly threw objects, possibly while hunting prey. Scientists think the person died elsewhere and the arm was carried to its resting place by the River Seine. It was found buried next to various animal skeletons of the period.