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Title: Middle Pleistocene lower back and pelvis from an aged human individual from the Sima de los Huesos site, Spain
Authors: Bonmatí, Alejandro
Gómez-Olivencia, Azier
Arsuaga, Juan Luis
Carretero Díaz, José Miguel
Gracia-Téllez, Ana
Martínez, Ignacio
Lorenzo Merino, Carlos
Bermúdez de Castro, José María
Carbonell, Eudald
Keywords: Human evolution;Sierra de Atapuerca;Spino-pelvic morphology;Paleopathology
Issue Date: Oct-2010
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
Citation: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010, 107 (43), 18386-18391
Abstract: We report a nearly complete lumbar spine from the Middle Pleistocene site of the Sima de los Huesos (SH) that is assigned to the previously published SH male Pelvis 1 [Arsuaga JL, et al. (1999). Nature 399: 255–258]. The “SH Pelvis 1 individual” is a unique nearly complete lumbo-pelvic complex from the human Middle Pleistocene fossil record, and offers a rare glimpse into the anatomy and past lifeways of Homo heidelbergensis. A revised reconstruction of Pelvis 1, together with the current fossil evidence, confirms our previous hypothesis that the morphology of this pelvis represents the primitive pattern within the genus Homo. Here we argue that this primitive pattern is also characterized by sexual dimorphism in the pelvic canal shape, implying complicated deliveries. In addition, this individual shows signs of lumbar kyphotic deformity, spondylolisthesis, and Baastrup disease. This suite of lesions would have postural consequences and was most likely painful. As a result, the individual’s daily physical activities would have been restricted to some extent. Reexamination of the age-at-death agrees with this individual being over 45 y old, relying on the modern human pattern of changes of the articular surfaces of the os coxae. The presence of degenerative pathological lesions and the advanced age-at-death of this individual make it the most ancient postcranial evidence of an aged individual in the human fossil record. Additional nonpathological SH lumbo-pelvic remains are consistent with previous hypotheses, suggesting a less-pronounced sagittal spinal curvature in Neandertals compared with Homo sapiens.
ISSN: 0027-8424
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1012131107
Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Paleobiología

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