Jump to navigation Jump to search
Naulette Cave
Caverne de la Naulette
Naulette Cave in Belgium
Naulette Cave in Belgium
Location in Belgium
Locationnear Dinant, Province of Namur
RegionWallonia, Belgium
Coordinates50°12′50″N 4°55′51″E / 50.21389°N 4.93083°E / 50.21389; 4.93083Coordinates: 50°12′50″N 4°55′51″E / 50.21389°N 4.93083°E / 50.21389; 4.93083
Associated withNeanderthals
Site notes
Excavation dates1866,
ArchaeologistsÉdouard Dupont

Naulette, French: Caverne de la Naulette is a large cave on the left bank of the Lesse, a tributary of the Meuse in the hills above Dinant, Belgium.

In 1866 Belgian paleontologist Édouard Dupont discovered a fragmented edentulous human mandible and an incomplete ulna at Naulette, that are now housed in the Brussels Natural History Museum .[1][2]

Contrary to earlier human fossil discoveries, such as the Neanderthal 1 remains in Germany, which could not be traced back to its contextual origin the Naulette fossil's antiquity was quickly confirmed as it was recorded in a precise stratigraphic context and could be compared and associated with remains of large, extinct prehistoric mammals, mammoth, rhinoceros and reindeer unearthed from the same sediment layer. French anthropologist Paul Broca wrote, that the discovery constitutes "the first event providing Darwinists with anatomical evidence. It is the first link in the chain which, according to them, extends from man to the apes".[3][4]

The mandible exhibits certain peculiarities, is of a very ape-like type in its extreme projection and that of the teeth sockets (the teeth themselves are lost), suggesting very strong canines and large molars that increase in size backwards. The Naulette Man is now considered to be a Neanderthal assigned to the Mousterian culture.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Caverne de la Naulette - coupe schématique du remplissage... Figure 1 of 4". researchgate. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  2. ^ Goodrum, Matthew R. (2014). "Crafting a New Science: Defining Paleoanthropology and Its Relationship to Prehistoric Archaeology, 1860–1890". Isis. 105 (4): 706–33. doi:10.1086/679420. JSTOR 10.1086/679420.
  3. ^ "Neandertal Studies in Belgium: 2000–2005". PERIODICUM BIOLOGORUM. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  4. ^ Stephen R. Holtzman. "Early Research on Pleistocene Races in Europe: Putting Neandertal Man's Head Together" (PDF). Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  5. ^ "Anthropology and Prehistory: Overview". Retrieved January 23, 2017.

See Gabriel de Mortillet, Le Préhistorique (1900); E Dupont, Étude sur les fouilles scientifiques exécutées pendant l'hiver (1865-1866), p. 21.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Naulette". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.