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How the Sima de los Huesos was won.

Although the first discovery of a human fossil in the Sima de los Huesos took place in 1976, systematic excavations did not begin there until 1984. Since then, this site has been continuously excavated in month-long camps. The site is dated by different radiometric techniques to between 430,000 and 300,000 years ago. Until the 2023 campaign, just over 7000 human fossils have been recovered, constituting the largest collection of fossils prior to Homo sapiens ever discovered. The fossils correspond to a minimum of 29 individuals of both sexes and different ages at death, from preadolescents to a specimen of advanced age. Comparative anatomy and ancient DNA studies both suggest that this is a population closely related to Homo neanderthalensis. The great variety and extraordinary quality of the fossils recovered have allowed us to carry out a series of investigations that have greatly increased our knowledge about the evolution of Homo in the Middle Pleistocene. Among the most important discoveries, it has been possible to establish body size and proportions, the confirmation that the origin of the accumulation of human fossils was of an anthropic nature, that those past humans took care of disabled individuals and who were capable of having an oral language almost as complex and efficient as that of our own species.

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