They noticed some significant differences between the previous dates and the newly produced ones. Tom realised they would need to recalculate previous dates with more robust approaches, so they applied for funding and the Palaeo Chron Project was born.The Palaeo Chron Project aims to refine and improve the chronology of Palaeolithic sites from Western Europe to Siberia.Prior to the 1950s and the ‘radiocarbon revolution’, archaeology relied on forms of relative dating and the idea that older things are buried beneath younger things. His work has turned many ideas about early human evolution and migration on their head.Tom’s work uses new methods for pre-treating samples before using radiocarbon dating, redating the fossilised bones that had provided the original evidence in previous research on early human evolution.The movement of our earliest modern ancestors and their effects on other, now extinct, archaic humans living in Eurasia – such as Neanderthals and, of course, now the Denisovans – is one of the most important questions in human evolution studies.In The Palaeolithic period, also known as the Old Stone Age, is the prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the use of stone tools, from about 2.5 million years ago to 10,000 years ago.
In the Middle Palaeolithic, fire was in use, and there is evidence of the cooking of food.Many of the Neanderthal bones were far older than originally dated.For example, an almost complete Neanderthal infant skeleton found at Mezmaiskaya in the Russian Caucasus was dated at just over 29,000 years BP.The new dates indicate that Neanderthals died out in Europe 10,000 years earlier than previously thought – between 41,000 and 39,000 years ago.
These dates coincide with the start of a very cold period in Europe.
When Tom’s team dated Neanderthal bones from the same collection, found above the infant skeleton, they were expecting a younger date but they got a much older date of 40,000 years BP.