The oldest human remains in Poland discovered

The oldest human remains in Poland are over 100,000 years old. They are bones from a hand belonging to a young Neanderthal child, which were digested by a large bird. The remains were found in Jaskinia Ciemna (cave), in southern Poland.

Until now, the oldest human remains from the territories of Poland, also belonging to Neanderthal man, were considered to be those from the Jaskinia Stajnia (cave) in southern Poland. They were three molars, whose age was estimated at approx. 42,000 to 52,000 years.

"The bones discovered by our team in Jaskinia Ciemna (cave) are the oldest human remains from the territories of Poland and are about 115,000 years old," said Prof. Paweł Valde-Nowak from the Institute of Archeology of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków (southern Poland), in an interview with PAP.

The excavations in Jaskinia Ciemna are being carried out as part of a grant from the National Science Centre, in cooperation with the Archaeological Museum of Kraków and the Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Information about the find will be published later this year in the Journal of Paleolithic Archeology.

Analysis shows that these are bones from a Neanderthal child's hand, and that the bones had passed through the digestive system of a large bird. Prof. Valde-Nowak supposes that the bird could have attacked a young Neanderthal child (probably around 5-7 years old) and partially consumed it, or it could have fed on the dead child's body. According to researchers, none of these options can be ruled out.