What Was Found In This Sinkhole Is Sending Archaeologists Into A Frenzy

The DNA sequenced from this Neanderthal man is the oldest on record.


Writer and stand up comedian in NY. Check out my monthly comedy show Roomie Raiders at the Creek and The Cave! @timunken For thousands of years, the man's bones slowly fused with the surrounding cave walls. The skeleton of the "Altamura Man" is now a Holy Grail of sorts for anthropologists and archaeologists, as it contains the oldest Neanderthal DNA on record.

In Lamalunga, which is near the Italian city of Altamura, lies a sinkhole that holds a fascinating secret -- the skeleton of a man who died 150,000 years ago.

The bones were found in 1993, but they had already been in the limestone cave for thousands of years by that point. As water dripped, stalactites formed and fused the bones to the wall.

For years, scientists weren't sure if the man was a modern human or a Neanderthal, but after examining the specimen's scapula, they determined that he was the latter.

This is an insanely important find for researchers because the Altamura Man's DNA is still well preserved. In fact, it's the oldest sample of Neanderthal DNA ever sequenced! I guess sinkholes are good for something, after all.