A Moroccan-French archaeology team has discovered the rear part of a human mandible that dates back to the prehistoric Acheulian phase, local MAP news agency reported on Monday. The mandible, which belongs to a young human, holds a premolar and a molar, the report said.
The fossil was uncovered on May 14 in the Thomas I quarry site in Casablanca, along with stone tools "that characterize the Acheulian civilization" and remnants of gazelles, antelopes, warthogs, bears, monkeys, said the report.
A French-Moroccan team last year, uncovered a complete mandible of Homo erectus at the Thomas I quarry. The mandible was found in a layer below one where the team had previously found four human teeth (three premolars and one incisor) from Homo erectus, one of which was dated to 500,000 B.C.
Professional excavations in the site started in 1988 as part of the "Casablanca Program" of the local Institute of Archaeology Sciences and Heritage, in coordination with France's archaeology mission in the Moroccan coasts.
The team that made this month's discovery was co-led by Moroccan and French scientists Fatima Zohra Sbihi Alaoui and Jean-Paul Raynal, said the report.
Thomas I site, where a Homo erectus half-jaw had been found by accident in 1969, confirms its role as one of the key archaeology sites for understanding the early population of Northwest Africa.