Science: The Cradle and the Cave

To people in the nearby Riviera town of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, the cavern is known as Le Trou du Tachou (the Badger's Hole). Hidden away on a Mediterranean hillside covered with olive trees and scrub oak, it was discovered in 1962 by a little girl looking for shiny stones for her collection. What subsequent explorers of the 16-ft. by 16-ft. grotto have found promises to be a great deal more significant: the habitat of the earliest known manlike creatures ever to dwell in Europe.

Until recently the Continent's most ancient inhabited site was thought to be Czechoslovakia's Stranska Skala Grotto, where archaeologists have...

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