Ancient Human-Like Fossils Found in Homeowners Travertine Tile

In an incredible discovery during a home renovation in Europe, a dentist found a human-like jawbone embedded in a travertine floor tile.

Travertine is known for having many types of fossils and inclusions in it, so it wasn’t a big surprise to see the fossil at first. But because of his background as a dentist, the closer he looked at it, the more he recognized the fossil as a mandible, which still contained a few teeth.

The mandible fossil embedded in travertine tile which has been verified by an archaeologist. (image u/Kidipadeli75 / Reddit)

The tile came from a quarry in the Denizli Basin of western Turkey, a region known for travertine formations that date back between half a million to 1.8 million years, suggesting the mandible is not of recent origin.

Travertine, a type of limestone that forms near hot springs, often solidifies in layers which can contain all different types of inclusions, including fossils. So this isn’t an isolated occurrence, as travertine formations around the world, including famous sites like the Getty Center in Los Angeles, have been known to contain fossils ranging from plants to larger animals, even hominins.

Given the age and origin of the tile, experts believe the jawbone might belong to an early human relative, rather than a modern human.

Further analysis, such as CT scanning and chemical testing of the rock, is planned to accurately date the fossil and determine more about the diet and environment of the jawbone’s owner. Researchers are also exploring the possibility of extracting ancient DNA from the specimen.

Resources: Smithsonian Magazine, Ancient Origins, Newsweek

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