The mystery of the fossil man in the mine: different species, 130,000 years old

New research has solved the nearly three-decade mystery of a strange fossil man found in a calcite mineral deposit in a cave system near Altamura (Italy).

In 1993, archaeologists discovered a fossilized body inside a calcite mineral deposit in a cave system near the town of Altamura, Italy. According to experts, the body belongs to a man who died more than 130,000 years ago.

Due to the crystallization of minerals in the mines for more than 130,000 years, the man's body looks like it is in the middle of a coral "forest". For the sake of research, scientists named this fossilized body Altamura Man.

According to a paper published in the scientific journal PLOS One, the remains do not belong to our species, but to an extinct ancient human species that once populated what is now Europe: the Neanderthals.

When it was excavated in 1993, the image of Altamura Man immediately attracted attention. He was like lying in the middle of a coral forest, his skull was also "made up" strangely.

Picture 1 of The mystery of the fossil man in the mine: different species, 130,000 years old
Close-up of the remains of a man of a different species that was "mummified" by nature for 130,000 years

According to Ancient Origins, thanks to modern techniques and the incredible integrity of his remains, his secret has finally come to light. Not only knowing the species, the team led by professor - Dr. Jacopo Moggi-Cecchi, from the University of Florence (Italy) also knew that he was a professional leather handler. Marks on its teeth suggest it was used as a "third hand" to stretch the skins.

The jaw set with some intact software still revealed gum disease and tartar status that the man had.

Although the remains remained in the same position as seen in the cave, the researchers reconstructed the man's posture using the model and learned that he experienced a gruesome death: falling. cave, still alive but unable to ascend and starve to death. He died in adulthood. Before his death, this person lost 2 teeth.

Dr Moggi-Cecchi said they are working on a plan to remove the man's body from the cave. Although the exposed skull above the minerals lost soft tissue, the lower jaw did not. There is evidence remaining that the remains have been preserved as a fossilized mummy! If so, it would be "a dream" for scientists because finding the intact bones of Neanderthals has been very difficult after 40,000 years of their extinction.