The oldest human fossil in Europe, from Orce (Spain)

Isidro Toro-Moyano, Bienvenido Martínez-Navarro, Jordi Agustí, Caroline Souday, José María Bermúdez de Castro, María Martinón-Torres, Beatriz Fajardo, Mathieu Duval, Christophe Falguères, Oriol Oms, Josep Maria Parés, Pere Anadón, Ramón Julià, José Manuel García-Aguilar, Anne Marie Moigne, María Patrocinio Espigares, Sergio Ros-Montoya, Paul Palmqvist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

185 Citations (Scopus)


The Orce region has one of the best late Pliocene and early Pleistocene continental paleobiological records of Europe. It is situated in the northeastern sector of the intramontane Guadix-Baza Basin (Granada, Andalusia, southern Spain). Here we describe a new fossil hominin tooth from the site of Barranco León, dated between 1.02 and 1.73Ma (millions of years ago) by Electron Spin Resonance (ESR), which, in combination with paleomagnetic and biochronologic data, is estimated to be close to 1.4Ma. While the range of dates obtained from these various methods overlaps with those published for the Sima del Elefante hominin locality (1.2Ma), the overwhelming majority of evidence points to an older age. Thus, at the moment, the Barranco León hominin is the oldest from Western Europe. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Barranco León
  • Early Pleistocene
  • Human tooth


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