ESR-dating of the fossil hominid cranium from Petralona Cave, Greece

Abstract

The age of the hominid cranium discovered in 1960 in a limestone cave near Petralona (Greece) is a continuing cause of controversy. The age of the skull, which was apparently encrusted by brown calcite soon after the death of the individual concerned, has been variously estimated at between 70,0001 and 700,0002 yr. Here we show using electron spin resonance (ESR) measurements of the calcite encrustation and of bone fragments that the age of the Petralona hominid lies between 160,000 and 240,000 yr. We also demonstrate, by trace element analysis, that the composition of the calcite encrustation is the same as that of the very top of the travertine floor.

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Hennig, G., Herr, W., Weber, E. et al. ESR-dating of the fossil hominid cranium from Petralona Cave, Greece. Nature 292, 533–536 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1038/292533a0

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