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21 October 2013
Neanderthals roamed with elk, bison east of Berlin

Fossils and flint tools found in a coal mine prove that Neanderthal man roamed the region east of Berlin (Germany) during the last-but-one ice age, the Brandenburg state government said. The finds date back 130,000 years and they are the oldest evidence of human existence in the region, the Ministry of Science, Research and Culture said in a statement.
     Archaeologists unearthed tools including a scraper for removing flesh from animal skins, and a stone for shaping tools and weapons. Twenty meters below the surface, they also found remnants of wolf, horse, elk and bison at the Jaenschwalde lignite mine, near the city of Cottbus and the Polish border.
     Fossils show the surrounding habitat was a shallow, watery dell where buckthorn, birch trees, herbs, grasses and moss grew, according to researchers from Berlin's Free University. The climate was similar to northern Scandinavia's today, mild enough to allow Neanderthals to migrate there at least during the summer months, Annette Kossler, a Free University paleontologist, said.

Edited from Bloomberg Business Week (17 October 2013)

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