The oldest human cranium fossil was discovered in the cave of Aroeira in Portugal.
Dated to 400,000 years ago, the cranium represents the westernmost human fossil ever found in Europe during the middle Pleistocene epoch and one of the earliest on this continent to be associated with the Acheulean stone tool industry.
At the Aroeira site, research team led Portuguese archaeologist João Zilhão, removed the cranium from the site in a large, solid block of sediment, to which it was attached.
The cranium, found with numerous stone tools, including numerous handaxes, was transported to paleoanthropology research center in Madrid, Spain for CT scanning, virtual reconstructions and further anthropological studies.
The research is published in in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.