Child's Jaw in Coal
In 1958, Dr. Johannes Huerzeler, of the Museum of Natural History in Basel, Switzerland, unearthed a human jawbone at a depth of 600 feet, in a coal mine in Tuscany, Italy. The bone had belonged to a child, between the ages of five and seven. Though flattened like a sheet of iron, the jaw was declared by several experts to be not only human, but modern-looking at that. But what mystified them was that it had been encased in a Miocene stratum - geologically dated at 20 million years. Dr. Huerzeler declared it to be the world's oldest man" - but his fellow anthropologists did not dare give it the same distinction. Here were human remains more modern in appearance than all the "ape-men" forms ever found - yet they were five times as old as any of them. In fact, the jaw bone is as old, if not older, than many ancestors of the apes. The bone raised more problems than answers - so the find was quickly "shelved," and no further work was ever done to give it due recognition.
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