Fontéchevade is a cave in Charente, France, which contains Palaeolithic remains from 200,000 and 120,000 years ago. The fossils consist of two skull fragments. Unlike Neanderthals and Homo sapiens of the time, the frontal skull fragment lacks any development of a brow ridge. This feature led French paleoanthropologists of the time to propose the "pre-sapiens" theory, in which the line to modern humans was said to have branched off before the appearance of the Neanderthals. Subsequent research has cast doubt on the importance of the Fontéchevade evidence. One of the fossils may be from an immature individual or from a period of time later than its surrounding deposits. The other does not preserve the brow area, but other aspects of its morphology are similar to those seen in Neanderthals.[1][2]

Fontéchevade Cave
Grotte de Fontéchevade
location in France
Fontéchevade (France)
Alternative nameFontéchevade
LocationCharente department, in Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Coordinates45°40′6.27343″N 0°28′47″E
Materiallimestone Karst
PeriodsLower Paleolithic
Associated withPaleo-humans

See also


  1. "Human Skull from Fontéchevade, France". Nature. 163 (4142): 435. 1949. doi:10.1038/163435b0.
  2. "Taphonomy and the Concept of Paleolithic Cultures: The Case of the Tayacian from Fontéchevade" (PDF). Eva. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  • Chase, P.G., Debenath, A., Dibble, H.L. and McPherron, S.P. 2009. The Cave of Fontéchevade: Recent Excavations and their Paleoanthropological Implications. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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