May 25, 2024


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A dentist discovered a human jawbone stuck in the floor tiles of his parents' home

A dentist discovered a human jawbone stuck in the floor tiles of his parents' home

This discovery captured the attention of an international team of scientists

While touring his parents' newly renovated European home, the dentist discovers something disturbing. Embedded in the limestone floor tiles along the hallway leading to the balcony was what appeared to be a human jawbone. The tile was cut diagonally, revealing a cross-section of several teeth. Unsure of the right course of action, the dentist turned to Reddit, where the discovery ignited a wave of online interest, ranging from enthusiastic curiosity to utter disgust.

The discovery has captured the attention of an international team of scientists who are eager to examine the fossil. They believe it could belong to an extinct human ancestor.

A lower jaw was found in the limestone floor of my parents' house
bysh/kidibadili75 inExcavations

“If it turns out to be a hominin fossil, which I believe it is, it should be studied and put in a museum,” says John Kappelman, a professor of anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin who specializes in the origins and evolution of hominins and hominins. , he said in an email.

Travertine, a type of limestone commonly used in construction due to its aesthetic appeal and longevity, often forms near mineral springs and can contain fossilized remains of past life. While plant fossils, algae and even animals such as those of rhinos and giraffes are sometimes found in limestone, human remains are exceptionally rare, notes University of Wisconsin human paleontologist John Hawkes. Forbes mentioned.

In a post titled “How Many Neanderthal Bathrooms Are There in a Court?” Dr. Hawkes highlights the unusual nature of this particular discovery.

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“I expect there will be many twists and turns in the story of this jawbone,” Hawks wrote. “With some of the teeth preserved and the abundance of surrounding rocks, I expect specialists will be able to learn a lot about the life of this individual and when it lived.”

The European dentist, who specializes in dental implants, told Forbes that he knew immediately that he wasn't just looking at natural variations in the stone patterns of the stone tiles when he saw several teeth staring back at him.

“From my dentist’s perspective, I had no doubt that he was some kind of human,” he told Forbes. “The distribution of teeth and the size of the lower jaw is distinctive. The width of the cortex is also specific to ancient humans.”

“I don't think it's Jimmy Hoffa,” the dentist joked in a follow-up to his original Reddit post. He said he preferred not to reveal his name or the whereabouts of his parents to protect the family's privacy.

When a dentist discovered a jawbone as part of an upgrade to his parents' house, he was surprised for a different reason.

“It is very unusual to find vertebrate fossils in treated limestone tiles, and hominin fossils are 100 times more so,” Kappelman said. “We only have a handful.”

Mr Kappelman was part of a team that observed the first evidence of tuberculosis etched on 500,000-year-old human skeletal remains discovered by factory workers in Turkey cutting limestone tiles for commercial use. The scientists published the results of their research in 2007 in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

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