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Bulgarian paleontologists stumble upon prehistoric tooth

Date: 30.11.2007

A team of scientists with Bulgaria's Natural History Museum have unearthed a tooth dated back to the Late Miocene, the head of the fossil and recent Mammalia museum department Dr. Nikolay Spasov announced on Wednesday.

The tooth is some seven million years old and belonged to a hominid.

A team of archaeologists, paleontologists, paleo-anthropologists and biologists from the museum spent the last ten years in researching the flora, the fauna and the overall nature setting in Bulgaria from the time of the late Neogene (10,7 - 5,3 million years BC).

The tooth was dated by Dr. Nikolai Spasov and Dr. Denis Geraads from the Paris laboratory on human origins, who work on a joint project, financed by CNRS-France.

The tooth was discovered by paleontologists P. Popdimitrov and A. Dimitrova. The finding comes from the continental Neocene deposits in the basin of the Maritsa River.

The attendant fossil fauna - antelopes, proboscises, hiparions, rhinos and other animals - helped in fixing a late Turolean age for the tooth. The finding itself belonged to the latest hominid in Europe, which from its part gives another strong argument for the thesis that direct predecessors of the hominids originated in southeastern Europe and not in Africa.

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