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Discover the Ancient Past in Torquay


A recent study has identified Torquay, home of IALC’s Torquay International School, as the earliest known human settlement in north-western Europe.

The Kents Cavern jawbone, a maxilla (upper jawbone) found in Kents Cavern, Torquay in 1927, has been intriguing scientists for decades. In 1989 it was dated at 31,000 years old but recent tests to determine if it could be Neanderthal found that its actual age is between 44,200 and 41,500 years old.

The study was led by Dr Thomas Higham of the University of Oxford and Professor Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London and was published on 02 November 2011 in the science magazine, Nature. The research confirms the jawbone is not Neanderthal but in fact the oldest anatomically modern human fossil ever to have been discovered in this part of Europe.

The original jawbone is on display at Torquay Museum and TIS students can explore more of Britain’s prehistoric past at Kents Cavern where the bone was first uncovered.

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