NEANDERTHAL FOSSIL FOUND IN THE NORTH SEA
Chris Stringer, well known Neanderthal specialist, has said of this find that studying the landscape beneath the North Sea is crucial for a better understanding of prehistoric movements of humans into the British Isles.
"We have Neanderthals at Lynford (in Norfolk) 60,000 years ago, though we only have stone tools. This specimen might indeed be the kind of Neanderthal that was crossing into Norfolk around that time. It will help us understand our British sequence when we can much more precisely map what's under the North Sea," he said.
Professor Hublin, involved in the study, said the individual was living at the extreme edge of the Neanderthals' northern range, where the relatively cold environment would have challenged their capabilities to the limit. Neanderthal remains have been found at only two sites this far north.
"What we have here is a marginal population, probably with low numbers of people," Professor Hublin explained.
"It's quite fascinating to see that these people were able to cope with the
environment and be so successful in an ecological niche which was not the initial niche for humans."
While these hunting grounds would at times have provided plentiful sources of meat for a top carnivore, Neanderthals living in these areas would also have been at the mercy of fluctuations in the numbers of big game animals.