LISBON, March 13 (Xinhua) -- An international team of archaeologists have discovered the oldest human fossil ever found in Portugal, a skull about 400,000 years old, Portuguese Lusa News Agency reported on Monday.
The archaeologists led by Joao Zilhao, a Portuguese national, found the skull in a cave of Aroeira, Torres Novas, in central Portugual, and presented their findings on Monday in a study published in this week's issue of the bulletin of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
"It is the oldest human fossil found in Portuguese territory and one of the oldest in Europe," Joao Zilhao said.
A human fossil has never been found from Pleistocene period (Ice Age), which covered the period from 2.5 million years ago to 11,500 years ago, in such a western part of Europe.
The archaeologist indicated that the interest of this fossil is that it is very well dated and becomes standard of reference for interpretation of other more complete fossils but not so well dated.
Excavations in the cave where this skull was found will continue as archaeologists hope to find more skeletal remains of this individual or even parts of the skull that were missing.