New information on fragments of human jawbone fossil found in the Mala Balcanica cave in Serbia, have been published in the prestigious scientific magazine Plos One, reports the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade.
Plos one writes that the fossil is between 397.000 and 525.000 years old, and the discovered jawbone represents the oldest East European fossil of middle pleistocene hominids.
”Newly obtained ages, based on electron spin resonance combined with uranium series isotopic analysis, and infrared/post-infrared luminescence dating, provide a minimum age that lies between 397 and 525 ka for the hominin mandible BH-1 from Mala Balanica cave, Serbia.
Although the sample size is small, and consists of unassociated crania and mandibles, this pattern is consistent with a lack of isolation during glaciations that resulted in different morphological outcomes from those at the west of the continent. In that context, the Balkan Peninsula could be part of the geographic spread of a Southwest Asian “source” population for the purported successive repopulation of Europe in the Middle Pleistocene.
This confirms it as the easternmost hominin specimen in Europe dated to the Middle Pleistocene. Inferences drawn from the morphology of the mandible BH-1 place it outside currently observed variation of European Homo heidelbergensis.
The lack of derived Neandertal traits in BH-1 and its contemporary specimens in Southeast Europe, such as Kocabaş, Vasogliano and Ceprano, coupled with Middle Pleistocene synapomorphies, suggests different evolutionary forces acting in the east of the continent where isolation did not play such an important role during glaciations.”