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Gib skull sheds light on ‘development’ of Neanderthal children

The Gibraltar skull, which today forms part of the new free human evolution gallery at the Natural History Museum in London, has been used in important research to look at the way that Neanderthal children developed, both in terms of the eruption of their teeth, and the way that the characteristic Neanderthal face began its growth. Professor Chris Stringer, Lead Researcher in Human Origins at the Natural History Museum; told the Chronicle the skull from Forbes’ Quarry has great historical significance, as it was actually discovered eight years before the one from the Neander Valley in Germany, and it has the best preserved face of any late Neanderthal fossil. “The child’s partial skull from Devil’s Tower is also significant, as immature Neanderthals as well-preserved as this are very rare,” he adds.

As reported by the Chronicle during the Calpe Conference both are now being subjected to analyses to see if they contain ancient DNA, a new and important source of information about these ancient humans last September.

The new human evolution gallery looking at discovering the intertwined history of our species opened towards the end of the year at the Natural History Museum with the Gibraltar skull featured in the new exhibition.

The Natural History Museum welcomes more than five million visitors a year and is a world-leading science research centre and this exhibition seeks to answer such questions as: Where do we come from? What makes us human? These fundamental mysteries have shaped the study of human origins for centuries and the exhibition traces our species’ evolution from the first upright primate through to modern humans.



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