And although woolly mammoths and reindeer thrived in these Arctic-like conditions they proved a real challenge for Neanderthals.

The researchers wrote: “The molecular age of approximately 80,000 years places the tooth from Stajnia Cave in this important period of Neanderthal history when the environment was characterised by extreme seasonality and some groups dispersed eastwards to Central Asia.”

Dr Wioletta Nowaczewska from Wroclaw University and Dr Adam Nadachowski from the Polish Academy of Sciences, fellow co-authors, highlighted the significance of the discovery.

They said: “We were thrilled when the genetic analysis revealed that the tooth was at least 80,000 years old.



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