Neanderthal tooth put on show in Qazvin museum

January 3, 2021 - 20:50

TEHRAN - A fossilized tooth, which is amongst the earliest evidence of Neanderthal settlements in the Iranian plateau, has been put on show at a museum in Qazvin, west-central Iran, where the object was discovered in a nearby cave.

The opening ceremony of the public show was attended by Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan, several local officials, history buffs, archaeologists, and museum-goers, CHTN reported on Sunday.

Discovered in Qal-e Kord Cave in Avaj county, the tooth has been examined in two laboratories in France and the United States, and the results of radiocarbon dating experiments show that it relates to the oldest-known Neanderthal civilization in Iran, according to Alireza Khazaeli, the provincial tourism chief.

In November 2018, the first season of the joint Iran-France archeological exploration led to the discovery of over 6,000 cultural pieces in the area. It also yielded bone remains of horse, deer, bear, and many stone tools belonging to the Middle Paleolithic period (between 200,000 up to 40,000 years ago).

A 2019 study published in the Journal of Human Evolution, suggests that Neanderthals were roaming at the Iranian Zagros Mountain sometimes between 40 to 70 thousand years ago.

Until the late 20th century, Neanderthals were regarded as genetically, morphologically, and behaviorally distinct from living humans. However, more recent discoveries about this well-preserved fossil Eurasian population have revealed an overlap between living and archaic humans.

Neanderthals lived before and during the last ice age of the Pleistocene in some of the most unforgiving environments ever inhabited by humans. They developed a successful culture, with a complex stone tool technology, that was based on hunting, with some scavenging and local plant collection. Their survival during tens of thousands of years of the last glaciation is a remarkable testament to human adaptation.

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