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Last Updated: Wednesday April 27 2005 14:58 GMT

Jaw could be from 'earliest man'

The jawbone (Image: Torquay Museum)
A piece of a jawbone that has been lying in a museum for nearly 80 years has turned out to be a much more important treasure than anyone guessed.

Experts at the Torquay Museum in Devon think it could be the earliest example of a modern human ever found in Europe.

The jaw, which still has three teeth on it, was thought to be about 31,000 years old, but now it's thought it might be up to 40,000 years old.

However, some staff even think the jaw could be from a Neanderthal.

A special research team is now doing more tests on the jawbone to find out where it really came from.

Exciting

Whether it is an example of earliest man, or a Neanderthal, it is still a very exciting discovery.

The bone was found in Kent's Cavern, Torquay, in 1927 during an excavation.



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