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Title: Dentine morphology of Atapuerca‐Sima de los Huesos lower molars: evolutionary implications through three‐dimensional geometric morphometric analysis
Authors: Hanegraef, Hester
Martinón-Torres, María
Martínez de Pinillos, Marina
Martín-Francés, Laura
Vialet, Amélie
Arsuaga, Juan Luis
Bermúdez de Castro, José María
Keywords: Dental anthropology;European Pleistocene;Hominin taxonomy;Neanderthal origins
Issue Date: Jun-2018
Publisher: Wiley
Citation: American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 2018, 166 (2), 276-295
Abstract: Objectives This study aims to explore the affinities of the Sima de los Huesos (SH) population in relation to Homo neanderthalensis, Arago, and early and contemporary Homo sapiens. By characterizing SH intra‐population variation, we test current models to explain the Neanderthal origins. Materials and Methods Three‐dimensional reconstructions of dentine surfaces of lower first and second molars were produced by micro‐computed tomography. Landmarks and sliding semilandmarks were subjected to generalized Procrustes analysis and principal components analysis. Results SH is often similar in shape to Neanderthals, and both groups are generally discernible from Homo sapiens. For example, the crown height of SH and Neanderthals is lower than for modern humans. Differences in the presence of a mid‐trigonid crest are also observed, with contemporary Homo sapiens usually lacking this feature. Although SH and Neanderthals show strong affinities, they can be discriminated based on certain traits. SH individuals are characterized by a lower intra‐population variability, and show a derived dental reduction in lower second molars compared to Neanderthals. SH also differs in morphological features from specimens that are often classified as Homo heidelbergensis, such as a lower crown height and less pronounced mid‐trigonid crest in the Arago fossils. Discussion Our results are compatible with the idea that multiple evolutionary lineages or populations coexisted in Europe during the Middle Pleistocene, with the SH paradigm phylogenetically closer to Homo neanderthalensis. Further research could support the possibility of SH as a separate taxon. Alternatively, SH could be a subspecies of Neanderthals, with the variability of this clade being remarkably higher than previously thought.
ISSN: 0002-9483
DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.23428
Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Paleobiología
Colecciones, Conservación y Restauración
Microscopía y Microtomografía Computarizada

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