Check out the caveman fused into rock. After extracting the bones sticking out from limestone, researchers believe the Neanderthal fell down a sinkhole around 150,000 years ago. The bones gradually became incorporated into the stalactites left behind by water dribbling down the cave walls.

Altamura Man

Altamura Man, surrounded by limestone deposits.

The Altamura Man is a fossil of the genus Homo discovered in 1993 in a karst sinkhole in the Lamalunga Cave near the city of Altamura, Italy.

Remarkably well preserved but embedded in stalagmites and covered in a thick layer of calcite the find was left in situ in order to avoid damage. Research during the following twenty years was based mainly on the documented on-site observations. Consequently, experts remained reluctant to agree on a conclusive age nor was there consensus on the species it belonged to.

Only after a fragment of the right scapula (shoulder blade) was retrieved was it possible to produce an accurate dating of the individual, an analysis and diagnostic of its morp… Continue Reading