Human Evolution

, Volume 14, Issue 1–2, pp 21–28 | Cite as

Species-specific albumin in fossil bones from Orce, Granada, Spain

  • Lowenstein J. M. 
  • Borja C. 
  • García-Olivares E. 


A skull fragment (VM-0) from Orce, Granada, Spain, dated palaeomagnetically at about 1.6 Myr, is thought by some palaeontologist to be hominid, while others maintain it is equid. If hominid, it would be by far the oldest evidence ofHomo in Europe. Immunological studies on residual albumin in this fossil were carried out independently, and with different immunological methods, at the University of California, San Francisco (radioimmunoassay), and at the University of Granada, Spain (enzyme immunoassay). Other fossils attributed to hominids also studied wereVM1960 from Venta Micena, andCV-1 from Cueva Victoria, Murcia, Spain. Undisputed equid and bovid fossils from the same deposits and dated to a similar period as the Orce skull were also analyzed. Our results showed that species-specific albumin can be detected in 1.6 Myr-old hominid, equid and bovid fossils. The albumin from the Orce skull fragment and fromVM-1960 was immunologically closer to human albumin. These findings support the contention that theVM-0 andVM-1960 are hominid and that members of the genusHomo occupied southern Spain 1.6 Myr ago.

Key words

VM-0 Fossil proteins ELISA RIA Monoclonal antibodies Venta Micena Cueva Victoria 


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Copyright information

© International Institute for the Study of Man 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lowenstein J. M. 
    • 1
  • Borja C. 
    • 2
  • García-Olivares E. 
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. of MedicineUniv. of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Unidad de Immunología Instituto de BiotecnologíaUniversidad de GranadaSpain

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