Archaeology students discover 560,000-year-old prehistoric human tooth

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France Prehistoric Tooth This photo taken Friday, July 24, 2015 and released on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 by The Etablissement Public de Cooperation Culturelle-Centre Europeen de Recherches Prehistoriques de Tautavel (EPCC-CERP Tautavel), shows a tooth discovered during excavations on one of Europe’s most important prehistoric site in Tautavel, south-western France. (Denis Dainat/EPCC-CERP Tauvalel via AP)

Archaeologists say two students have found a human tooth from about 560,000 years ago in a famous prehistoric cave in southwestern France, the oldest human body part ever discovered in the country.

The archaeology students were participating in excavations at Tautavel, one of Europe’s most important prehistoric sites, under the supervision of scientists.

This photo taken Friday, July 24, 2015 and released on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 by The Etablissement Public de Cooperation Culturelle-Centre Europeen de Recherches Prehistoriques de Tautavel (EPCC-CERP Tautavel), shows Camille Jacquey, right, and Valentin Loescher, displaying a tooth they have discovered during excavations on one of Europe’s most important prehistoric site in Tautavel, south-western France. The two young volunteers  found a human tooth from about 560,000 years ago in a famous prehistoric cave in France. French paleoanthropologist Tony Chevalier, scientist at Tautavel’s archaeological laboratory, told the AP this is a “major” discovery, the oldest human body part found in France and one of the very rare human remains from this period in Europe. (Denis Dainat/EPCC-CERP Tauvalel via AP)

Camille Jacquey, right, and Valentin Loescher, displaying a tooth they have discovered during excavations on one of Europe’s most important prehistoric site in Tautavel, south-western France. The two young volunteers found a human tooth from about 560,000 years ago in a famous prehistoric cave in France. (Denis Dainat/EPCC-CERP Tauvalel via AP)

Paleoanthropologist Tony Chevalier, researcher at Tautavel’s archaeological laboratory, called it a “major discovery,” one of the very rare human remains from this period in Europe.

Chevalier said the adult tooth would help fill a gap between the very few oldest human fossils, notably found in Spain and Germany, and more recent ones.

He said that thousands of finds on the site include prehistoric tools and bones from animals, notably horses and buffalos.

This photo taken Friday, July 24, 2015 and released on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 by The Etablissement Public de Cooperation Culturelle-Centre Europeen de Recherches Prehistoriques de Tautavel (EPCC-CERP Tautavel), shows a tooth discovered during excavations on one of Europe’s most important prehistoric site in Tautavel, south-western France. Two young volunteers have found a human tooth from about 560,000 years ago in a famous prehistoric cave in France. French paleoanthropologist Tony Chevalier, scientist at Tautavel’s archaeological laboratory, told the AP this is a “major” discovery, the oldest human body part found in France and one of the very rare human remains from this period in Europe.(Denis Dainat/EPCC-CERP Tauvalel via AP)

The tooth discovered during excavations on one of Europe’s most important prehistoric site in Tautavel, south-western France. (Denis Dainat/EPCC-CERP Tauvalel via AP)