The oldest European

Alice Roberts is in Romania, somewhere to the south of Transylvania, exploring the remote cave of Pestera Cu Oase (the Cave of Bones). In 2002, divers discovered a hidden chamber full of bones. Silviu tells Alice about discovering cave bear bones and then, amongst them, pieces of a human skull, which they painstakingly fitted back together. The skull is 40,000 years old - the oldest remains of our species in Europe. The skull has a big round braincase just like us, but has very big teeth compared to modern people, and a more rugged-looking face. Forensic sculptor Richard Neave has used the skull to reconstruct what the person looked liked. He doesn't know if the skull was a man's or a woman's - it is rather androgenous. The facial features - as expected for such an old skull - are generic, with hints of African, European and Asian characteristics. The earliest Europeans were much darker skinned than later Europeans, having only just arrived from more tropical places.

Release date:

Duration:

5 minutes

Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterDr Alice Roberts
DirectorPhilip Smith
ProducerPaul Bradshaw
Executive ProducerKim Shillinglaw
PresenterDr Alice Roberts
DirectorPhilip Smith
ProducerPaul Bradshaw
Executive ProducerKim Shillinglaw

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