© Ancient Origins
Researchers have used a more refined screening method in conjunction with radiocarbon dating on a popular collection of Neanderthal remains found at Vindija Cave in Croatia. Their results show that the remains are much older than previously found and negate the common belief that genetically modern humans interacted with Neanderthals at the major research site.

According to Phys.org, these remains have been dated various times since they were found in the cave almost 40 years ago. The earlier dates for the Neanderthal remains range from 28,000 to 29,000 years ago and more recent tests suggested they are 32,000 to 34,000 years old. However, the present test has used a new process called ZooMS screening to identify collagen from a previously unrecognized Neanderthal bone. Their results indicate the remains are approximately 40,000 years old.

The ZooMS (Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry) test allowed the researchers to identify potential hominin bone fragments among unidentified faunal remains from the Vindija Cave site. Their ZooMS screening involved taking purified collagen samples found in bone and identifying the amino acid hydroxyproline. The ZooMS test is also known as collagen fingerprinting. Collagen is an abundant protein that provides most of your body's structure. It can be found at archaeological sites in remains such as bones and teeth. Amino acids are the building blocks for proteins.

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