Washington: Remains of the youngest Neanderthal ever found suggest that those who made it to the ‘terrible two's’ were large, sturdy and toothy.
The remains of this infant - a lower jaw and teeth unearthed in a Belgian cave - are that of the youngest Neanderthal ever found in northwest Europe. They were discovered alongside two adults, potentially representing a prehistoric family.
Isabelle Crevecoeur and her colleagues at the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS) in France analyzed the Neanderthal child's remains, found at Spy Cave in Jemeppe-sur-Sambre, Belgium.
The newly discovered infant lived there about 33,000 years ago, suggesting Neanderthal groups persisted in this area over the millennia.
"The country has the highest concentration of Neanderthal remains. The first Neanderthal specimen ever found was in Belgium during the 19th century," Discovery News quoted Crevecoeur as saying.
What is now known is that the child had thinner enamel on its teeth than what's found on those of modern humans. The infant, however, did appear to be growing quickly, with a spurt that may have begun when it was around a year old.
The study will appear in the Journal of Human Evolution.
First Published: Thursday, October 21, 2010, 08:45