The Japan Times, December 19, 1997

Prehistoric feces may shed light on human evolution

LONDON (Reuters) Fossilized excrement found in a cave in Gibraltar may show whether there are links between Neanderthal man and present-day humans, British scientists said Wednesday.
Professor Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London hailed what he called a "spectacular discovery" earlier this year by a team of international experts.
"This could provide dating evidence of the transition from Neanderthals to modern people," he said at a news conference.
After they found the specimens near a fireplace, the scientists wrapped them in metal foil and plastic bags to prevent contamination.
In January the specimens will be sent to Munich to be sectioned and analyzed for DNA content.
DNA evidence will be vital to determine any possible links between Neanderthal man and present-day humans. Scientists do not yet know why Neanderthal man died out: between 27,000 and 35,000 years ago. Gibraltar was where-the oldest remains of Neanderthals were discovered in 1848, although the name comes from a later discovery in the Neander Valley in Germany in 1856.
The only doubt surrounding the latest discovery is whether the excrement is of Neanderthal origin.