Man notices ancient human jawbone embedded in parents' tile floor

A Reddit user got the surprise of a lifetime when they noticed a human-like jawbone embedded in the new travertine flooring at their parents' house. Travertine, a type of limestone formed around natural springs, is a popular choice for floors and walls due to its distinctive patterns and textures. But as it turns out, travertine also has a habit of entombing ancient fossils.

The Redditor, a dentist, immediately recognized the unusual find as a mandible. Further investigation revealed the travertine was sourced from Turkey, where a famous Homo erectus skull fragment, the Kocabaş fossil, was discovered in a quarry.

From John Hawks:

And if you do happen find a jawbone in your bathroom, my suggestion is first to contact the local authorities. Sure, a fossil in travertine likely comes from hundreds of thousands of years ago. It isn't a crime scene. But depending on your state or nation of residence, laws governing discovery of human remains on your property may be complicated and having the paperwork in order with the police, sheriff, or coroner is the first step for most investigations.

For myself, I'll be following the Reddit story with interest—I expect there will be many twists and turns in the story of this jawbone. With some teeth preserved and abundant surrounding rock, I expect that specialists will be able to learn a great deal about the life of this individual and when he or she lived.

The Redditor alerted experts, who are excited to study this accidental discovery.

Found a mandible in the travertin floor at my parents house
byu/Kidipadeli75 infossils

Previously: More on the sex lives of ancient humans