Archaeologists say two students have found a human tooth from about 560,000 years ago in a famous prehistoric cave in southwestern France, the oldest human body part ever discovered in the country.

The archaeology students were participating in excavations at Tautavel, one of Europe's most important prehistoric sites, under the supervision of scientists.

Paleoanthropologist Tony Chevalier, researcher at Tautavel's archaeological laboratory, called it a "major discovery," one of the very rare human remains from this period in Europe.

Chevalier said the adult tooth would help fill a gap between the very few oldest human fossils, notably found in Spain and Germany, and more recent ones.

He said that thousands of finds on the site include prehistoric tools and bones from animals, notably horses and buffalos.