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200,000-year-old Neanderthal human remains found in Normandy

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Neanderthal cave at Gorham, Gibraltar. AFP PHOTO / CNRS / F. d'Errico

French archaeologists have discovered some 200,000-year-old Neanderthal human remains in Normandy in an extremely rare discovery in northwestern Europe.


The three long Neanderthal bones - from the same left upper limb - found in September at Tourville-la-Rivière in Normandy and exhibited on Thursday in Paris are human fossils which are extremely rare in this part of Europe.

The remains are attributable to the Neanderthal lineage -  in the Middle Pleistocene era - and are aged between 236,000 and 183,000 years.

The open-air site of Tourville-la-Rivière was discovered in 1967 as a sand and gravel quarry and has since been monitored by archaeologists.

It is the second time such remains have been found in France. In the 1980s two partial crania from this period were excavated from Biache-Saint-Vaast in northern France.

All known human fossils from this period have been found from ten sites in either Germany or England.

The three bones most probably belong to an adult or an older adolescent but archaeologists said they were unable to tell if it's a male or female remain.

The archaeological discovery was published on Thursday on the American sciences review Plos One.