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Title: Early Pleistocene human hand phalanx from the Sima del Elefante (TE) cave site in Sierra de Atapuerca (Spain)
Authors: Lorenzo Merino, Carlos
Pablos Fernández, Adrián
Carretero Díaz, José Miguel
Huguet Pàmies, Rosa
Vallverdú Poch, Josep
Martinón-Torres, María
Arsuaga, Juan Luis
Carbonell, Eudald
Bermúdez de Castro, José María
Keywords: Phalanges;Homo;Postcranial evolution;Western Europe
Issue Date: Jan-2015
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Journal of Human Evolution, 2015, 78, 114-121
Abstract: In this study, a new Early Pleistocene proximal hand phalanx (ATE9-2) from the Sima del Elefante cave site (TE – Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain), ascribed to Homo sp., is presented and comparatively described in the context of the evolution of the genus Homo. The ATE9-2 specimen is especially important because of the paucity of hand bones in the human fossil record during the Early Pleistocene. The morphological and metrical analyses of the phalanx ATE9-2 indicate that there are no essential differences between it and comparator fossil specimens for the genus Homo after 1.3 Ma (millions of years ago). Similar to Sima de los Huesos and Neandertal specimens, ATE9-2 is a robust proximal hand phalanx, probably reflecting greater overall body robusticity in these populations or a higher gracility in modern humans. The age of level TE9 from Sima del Elefante and morphological and metrical studies of ATE9-2 suggest that the morphology of the proximal hand phalanges and, thus, the morphology of the hand could have remained stable over the last 1.2–1.3 Ma. Taking into account the evidence recently provided by a metacarpal from Kaitio (Kenya) from around 1.42 Ma, we argue that modern hand morphology is present in the genus Homo subsequent to Homo habilis.
ISSN: 0047-2484
DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2014.08.007
Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Paleobiología

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