Publications by authors named "Erik Trinkaus"

69 Publications

Middle Pleistocene human femoral diaphyses from Hualongdong, Anhui Province, China.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2021 02 11;174(2):285-298. Epub 2020 Aug 11.

Department of Anthropology, Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA.

Objectives: The paleontological description and comparative analysis using discrete morphology, morphometrics (linear and geometric) and cross-sectional geometry of three femoral diaphyseal sections from the Middle Pleistocene site of Hualongdong, China.

Materials And Methods: The material consists of the original Hualongdong femoral fossils and available data on femoral diaphyses from Middle and Late Pleistocene archaic humans and Middle and earlier Upper Paleolithic modern humans. The methods include visual observation, diaphyseal diameters, cross-sectional parameters (transverse areas and second moments of area derived from micro-CT scans), and geometric morphometrics using semilandmark data.

Results: The Hualong 11 midshaft section is similar to other Middle and Late Pleistocene archaic humans in being transversely broad and lacking a pilaster despite a prominent linea aspera. It clusters principally with archaic human femora in all measured parameters. The Hualong 15 and 16 subtrochanteric pieces are similar to many Middle Pleistocene and early modern human femora in being transversely broad. In particular, Hualong 15 exhibits a prominent lateral (gluteal) buttress, similar to many Upper Paleolithic femora but also the Lazaret and Krapina archaic ones. In addition, Hualong 15 has a small third trochanter, a common Upper Paleolithic but rare earlier feature.

Discussion: The Hualong 11 femoral piece reinforces the general Middle Pleistocene pattern, especially for eastern Eurasia from which archaic human femora are rare. The subtrochanteric proportions of Hualong 15 and 16 reinforce the Early Pleistocene and (generally) Middle Pleistocene pattern of bone distributions, but their subperiosteal contours align them (along with those of the Lazaret and Krapina femora) with Upper Paleolithic ones. It is difficult to account for these proportions from the generally broad pelves of Pleistocene archaic humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.24121DOI Listing
February 2021

Complex mortuary dynamics in the Upper Paleolithic of the decorated Grotte de Cussac, France.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 06 15;117(26):14851-14856. Epub 2020 Jun 15.

De la Préhistoire à l'Actuel : Culture, Environnement et Anthropologie (PACEA), UMR 5199, CNRS, Université de Bordeaux, 33615 Pessac, France;

The Mid-Upper Paleolithic (Gravettian) karstic Grotte de Cussac (France) contains two areas of human remains in the context of abundant (and spectacular) parietal engravings. The first area (loci 1 and 2) includes the skeleton of a young adult male in a bear nest, rearranged by postdecomposition inundation, and the variably fragmentary remains of at least two individuals distributed across two bear nests, sorted anatomically and with most of the elements constrained to one side of one nest. The second area (locus 3) retains remains of two adults and an adolescent, in upper hollows and variably distributed down the slope, largely segregated into upper versus lower body groups. The only decoration associated with the human remains is red pigment on some of the bones or underlying sediment. The human remains indicate variable nonnatural deposition and manipulation of human bodies, body portions, and skeletal elements of at least six individuals. Moreover, Cussac is unusual in the association of these remains with exceptional parietal art. The complex Cussac mortuary pattern joins growing evidence from other Gravettian sites of variable treatment of individuals after death, within and across sites, in terms of formal deposition of the body versus postmortem manipulation versus surface abandonment. It provides a window onto the social diversity and the complex interactions of the living and the dead among these successful Late Pleistocene foragers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2005242117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7334446PMC
June 2020

Perimortem versus postmortem damage: The recent case of Cioclovina 1.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2020 05 9;172(1):135-139. Epub 2020 Mar 9.

Department of Anthropology, Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA.

Objectives: Kranioti, Grigorescu, and Harvati have recently described (PLoS One 2019, 14(7),e0216718) the breakage to the Cioclovina 1 earlier Upper Paleolithic cranium as indicating fatal interhuman blunt trauma. We have reassessed their analysis in terms of the specimen's condition at discovery, its current condition, and the post-discovery history of the cranium.

Materials And Methods: The original Cioclovina 1 neurocranium and currently associated pieces were visually assessed for the nature of the damage to them, and the records of its discovery, the original 1942 photographs, and their subsequent history in Bucharest were reviewed.

Results: The damage to Cioclovina 1, attributed by Kranioti and colleagues to perimortem blunt trauma, was not present at the time of its 1940-41 discovery in the Peştera Cioclovina Uscată. The "trauma" is from the World War II bombing of the University of Bucharest and subsequent attempts to restore the cranium. The damage does not, and cannot, document interhuman violence in the Pleistocene.

Conclusions: Although other cases of antemortem and perimortem trauma are known from the earlier Upper Paleolithic, and Pleistocene humans more broadly, there is absolutely no evidence of perimortem trauma on the Cioclovina 1 cranium. Proper assessment of levels and patterns of human trauma in the Pleistocene must be based on the correct paleontological, taphonomic, and historical assessment of the fossil remains in question.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.24045DOI Listing
May 2020

A Neanderthal from the Central Western Zagros, Iran. Structural reassessment of the Wezmeh 1 maxillary premolar.

J Hum Evol 2019 10 13;135:102643. Epub 2019 Aug 13.

Laboratoire HNHP, UMR 7194 CNRS, Muséum National D'Histoire Naturelle, Musée de L'Homme, Paris, France; Unité de Formation Géosciences, Université de Poitiers, Poitiers, France.

Wezmeh Cave, in the Kermanshah region of Central Western Zagros, Iran, produced a Late Pleistocene faunal assemblage rich in carnivorans along with a human right maxillary premolar, Wezmeh 1, an unerupted tooth from an 8 ± 2 year-old individual. Uranium-series analyses of the fauna by alpha spectrometry provided age estimates between 70 and 11 ka. Crown dimensions place the tooth specimen at the upper limits of Late Pleistocene human ranges of variation. Wezmeh 1 metameric position (most likely a P) remains uncertain and only its surficial morphology has been described so far. Accordingly, we used microfocus X-ray tomography (12.5 μm isotropic voxel size) to reassess the metameric position and taxonomic attribution of this specimen. We investigated its endostructural features and quantified crown tissue proportions. Topographic maps of enamel thickness (ET) distribution were also generated, and semilandmark-based geometric morphometric analyses of the enamel-dentine junction (EDJ) were performed. We compared Wezmeh 1 with unworn/slightly-moderately worn P and P of European Neanderthals, Middle Paleolithic modern humans from Qafzeh, an Upper Paleolithic premolar, and Holocene humans. The results confirm that Wezmeh 1 represents a P. Based on its internal conformation and especially EDJ shape, Wezmeh 1 aligns closely with Neanderthals and is distinct from the fossil and extant modern human pattern of our comparative samples. Wezmeh 1 is thus the first direct evidence of Neanderthal presence on the western margin of the Iranian Plateau.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2019.102643DOI Listing
October 2019

External auditory exostoses among western Eurasian late Middle and Late Pleistocene humans.

PLoS One 2019 14;14(8):e0220464. Epub 2019 Aug 14.

CNRS, UMR5199 PACEA, Bâtiment B8, Allée Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, Pessac, France.

External auditory exostoses (EAE) have been noted among the Neandertals and a few other Pleistocene humans, but until recently they have been discussed primary as minor pathological lesions with possible auditory consequences. An assessment of available western Eurasian late Middle and Late Pleistocene human temporal bones with sufficiently preserved auditory canals (n = 77) provides modest levels of EAE among late Middle Pleistocene archaic humans (≈20%) and early modern humans (Middle Paleolithic: ≈25%; Early/Mid Upper Paleolithic: 20.8%; Late Upper Paleolithic: 9.5%). The Neandertals, however, exhibit an exceptionally high level of EAE (56.5%; 47.8% if two anomalous cases are considered normal). The levels of EAE for the early modern humans are well within recent human ranges of variation, frequencies which are low for equatorial inland and high latitude samples but occasionally higher elsewhere. The Early/Mid Upper Paleolithic frequency is nonetheless high for a high latitude sample under interpleniglacial conditions. Given the strong etiological and environmental associations of EAE development with exposure to cold water and/or damp wind chill, the high frequency of EAE among the Neandertals implies frequent aquatic resource exploitation, more frequent than the archeological and stable isotopic evidence for Middle Paleolithic/Neandertal littoral and freshwater resource foraging implies. As such, the Neandertal data parallel a similar pattern evident in eastern Eurasian archaic humans. Yet, factors in addition to cold water/wind exposure may well have contributed to their high EAE frequencies.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0220464PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6693685PMC
March 2020

Archaic human remains from Hualongdong, China, and Middle Pleistocene human continuity and variation.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2019 05 29;116(20):9820-9824. Epub 2019 Apr 29.

Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100044 Beijing, China;

Middle to Late Pleistocene human evolution in East Asia has remained controversial regarding the extent of morphological continuity through archaic humans and to modern humans. Newly found ∼300,000-y-old human remains from Hualongdong (HLD), China, including a largely complete skull (HLD 6), share East Asian Middle Pleistocene (MPl) human traits of a low vault with a frontal keel (but no parietal sagittal keel or angular torus), a low and wide nasal aperture, a pronounced supraorbital torus (especially medially), a nonlevel nasal floor, and small or absent third molars. It lacks a malar incisure but has a large superior medial pterygoid tubercle. HLD 6 also exhibits a relatively flat superior face, a more vertical mandibular symphysis, a pronounced mental trigone, and simple occlusal morphology, foreshadowing modern human morphology. The HLD human fossils thus variably resemble other later MPl East Asian remains, but add to the overall variation in the sample. Their configurations, with those of other Middle and early Late Pleistocene East Asian remains, support archaic human regional continuity and provide a background to the subsequent archaic-to-modern human transition in the region.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1902396116DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6525539PMC
May 2019

Neandertal foot remains from Regourdou 1 (Montignac-sur-Vézère, Dordogne, France).

J Hum Evol 2019 03 10;128:17-44. Epub 2019 Jan 10.

Univ. Bordeaux, CNRS, Ministère de La Culture et de la Communication, PACEA UMR 5199, Allée Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, FR-33615 Pessac, France.

Regourdou is a well-known Middle Paleolithic site which has yielded the fossil remains of a minimum of two Neandertal individuals. The first individual (Regourdou 1) is represented by a partial skeleton while the second one is represented by a calcaneus. The foot remains of Regourdou 1 have been used in a number of comparative studies, but to date a full description and comparison of all the foot remains from the Regourdou 1 Neandertal, coming from the old excavations and from the recent reanalysis of the faunal remains, does not exist. Here, we describe and comparatively assess the Regourdou 1 tarsals, metatarsals and phalanges. They display traits observed in other Neandertal feet, which are different from some traits of the Sima de los Huesos (Atapuerca) hominins and of Middle Paleolithic, Upper Paleolithic and recent modern humans. These Neandertal features are: a rectangular talar trochlea with a large lateral malleolar facet, a broad talar head, a broad calcaneus with a projecting sustentaculum tali, a wide and wedged navicular with a projecting medial tubercle, large and wide bases of the lateral metatarsals, and mediolaterally expanded and robust phalanges that also show hallux valgus in a strongly built hallux.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2018.11.003DOI Listing
March 2019

Morphology, pathology, and the vertebral posture of the La Chapelle-aux-Saints Neandertal.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2019 03 25;116(11):4923-4927. Epub 2019 Feb 25.

Institute of Evolutionary Medicine, University of Zürich, 8057 Zürich, Switzerland.

Although the early postural reconstructions of the Neandertals as incompletely erect were rejected half a century ago, recent studies of Neandertal vertebral remains have inferred a hypolordotic, flat lower back and spinal imbalance for them, including the La Chapelle-aux-Saints 1 skeleton. These studies form part of a persistent trend to view the Neandertals as less "human" than ourselves despite growing evidence for little if any differences in basic functional anatomy and behavioral capabilities. We have therefore reassessed the spinal posture of La Chapelle-aux-Saints 1 using a new pelvic reconstruction to infer lumbar lordosis, interarticulation of lower lumbar (L4-S1) and cervical (C4-T2) vertebrae, and consideration of his widespread age-related osteoarthritis. La Chapelle-aux-Saints 1 exhibits a pelvic incidence (and hence lumbar lordosis) similar to modern humans, articulation of lumbar and cervical vertebrae indicating pronounced lordosis, and Baastrup disease as a product of his advanced age, osteoarthritis, and lordosis. Our findings challenge the view of generally small spinal curvatures in Neandertals. Setting aside the developmentally abnormal Kebara 2 vertebral column, La Chapelle-aux-Saints 1 is joined by other Neandertals with sufficient vertebral remains in providing them with a fully upright (and human) axial posture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1820745116DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6421410PMC
March 2019

An abundance of developmental anomalies and abnormalities in Pleistocene people.

Authors:
Erik Trinkaus

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018 11 5;115(47):11941-11946. Epub 2018 Nov 5.

Department of Anthropology, Washington University, Saint Louis, MO 63130

Diverse developmental abnormalities and anomalous features are evident in the Pleistocene fossil record, varying from minor but rare dental, vertebral, and carpal variants to exceptional systemic disorders. There are currently 75 documented anomalies or abnormalities from 66 individuals, spanning the Pleistocene but primarily from the Late Pleistocene Middle and Upper Paleolithic with their more complete skeletal remains. The expected probabilities of finding these variants or developmental disorders vary from <5% to <0.0001%, based on either recent human incidences or relevant Pleistocene sample distributions. Given the modest sample sizes available for the skeletal or dental elements in question, especially if the samples are appropriately limited in time and geography, the cumulative multiplicative probability of finding these developmental changes is vanishingly small. These data raise questions regarding social survival abilities, differing mortuary treatments of the biologically unusual, the role of ubiquitous stress among these Pleistocene foragers, and their levels of consanguinity. No single factor sufficiently accounts for the elevated level of these developmental variants or the low probability of finding them in the available paleontological record.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1814989115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6255161PMC
November 2018

The labyrinth of human variation.

Authors:
Erik Trinkaus

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018 04 4;115(16):3992-3994. Epub 2018 Apr 4.

Department of Anthropology, Washington University in Saint Louis, Saint Louis, MO 63130

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1804794115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5910884PMC
April 2018

One hundred years of paleoanthropology: An American perspective.

Authors:
Erik Trinkaus

Am J Phys Anthropol 2018 04;165(4):638-651

Department of Anthropology, Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri, 63130.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23330DOI Listing
April 2018

Lower limb articular scaling and body mass estimation in Pliocene and Pleistocene hominins.

J Hum Evol 2018 02 10;115:85-111. Epub 2018 Jan 10.

Department of Anthropology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA.

Previous attempts to estimate body mass in pre-Holocene hominins have relied on prediction equations derived from relatively limited extant samples. Here we derive new equations to predict body mass from femoral head breadth and proximal tibial plateau breadth based on a large and diverse sample of modern humans (avoiding the problems associated with using diaphyseal dimensions and/or cadaveric reference samples). In addition, an adjustment for the relatively small femoral heads of non-Homo taxa is developed based on observed differences in hip to knee joint scaling. Body mass is then estimated for 214 terminal Miocene through Pleistocene hominin specimens. Mean body masses for non-Homo taxa range between 39 and 49 kg (39-45 kg if sex-specific means are averaged), with no consistent temporal trend (6-1.85 Ma). Mean body mass increases in early Homo (2.04-1.77 Ma) to 55-59 kg, and then again dramatically in Homo erectus and later archaic middle Pleistocene Homo, to about 70 kg. The same average body mass is maintained in late Pleistocene archaic Homo and early anatomically modern humans through the early/middle Upper Paleolithic (0.024 Ma), only declining in the late Upper Paleolithic, with regional variation. Sexual dimorphism in body mass is greatest in Australopithecus afarensis (log[male/female] = 1.54), declines in Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus (log ratio 1.36), and then again in early Homo and middle and late Pleistocene archaic Homo (log ratio 1.20-1.27), although it remains somewhat elevated above that of living and middle/late Pleistocene anatomically modern humans (log ratio about 1.15).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.10.014DOI Listing
February 2018

External auditory exostoses in the Xuchang and Xujiayao human remains: Patterns and implications among eastern Eurasian Middle and Late Pleistocene crania.

PLoS One 2017 12;12(12):e0189390. Epub 2017 Dec 12.

Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.

In the context of Middle and Late Pleistocene eastern Eurasian human crania, the external auditory exostoses (EAE) of the late archaic Xuchang 1 and 2 and the Xujiayao 15 early Late Pleistocene human temporal bones are described. Xujiayao 15 has small EAE (Grade 1), Xuchang 1 presents bilateral medium EAE (Grade 2), and Xuchang 2 exhibits bilaterally large EAE (Grade 3), especially on the right side. These cranial remains join the other eastern Eurasian later Pleistocene humans in providing frequencies of 61% (N = 18) and 58% (N = 12) respectively for archaic and early modern human samples. These values are near the upper limits of recent human frequencies, and they imply frequent aquatic exposure among these Pleistocene humans. In addition, the medial extents of the Xuchang 1 and 2 EAE would have impinged on their tympanic membranes, and the large EAE of Xuchang 2 would have resulted in cerumen impaction. Both effects would have produced conductive hearing loss, a serious impairment in a Pleistocene foraging context.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0189390PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5726651PMC
January 2018

External auditory exostoses and hearing loss in the Shanidar 1 Neandertal.

PLoS One 2017 20;12(10):e0186684. Epub 2017 Oct 20.

UMR5199 PACEA, Université de Bordeaux-CNRS, Bâtiment B8, Allée Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, Pessac cedex, France.

The Late Pleistocene Shanidar 1 older adult male Neandertal is known for the crushing fracture of his left orbit with a probable reduction in vision, the loss of his right forearm and hand, and evidence of an abnormal gait, as well as probable diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis. He also exhibits advanced external auditory exostoses in his left auditory meatus and larger ones with complete bridging across the porus in the right meatus (both Grade 3). These growths indicate at least unilateral conductive hearing (CHL) loss, a serious sensory deprivation for a Pleistocene hunter-gatherer. This condition joins the meatal atresia of the Middle Pleistocene Atapuerca-SH Cr.4 in providing evidence of survival with conductive hearing loss (and hence serious sensory deprivation) among these Pleistocene humans. The presence of CHL in these fossils thereby reinforces the paleobiological and archeological evidence for supporting social matrices among these Pleistocene foraging peoples.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0186684PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5650169PMC
November 2017

Further human fossils from the Middle Stone Age deposits of Die Kelders Cave 1, Western Cape Province, South Africa.

J Hum Evol 2017 08 29;109:70-78. Epub 2017 Jun 29.

CT Scanner Unit, Central Analytical Facilities of Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch 7602, South Africa. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.05.009DOI Listing
August 2017

Anterior dental microwear textures show habitat-driven variability in Neandertal behavior.

J Hum Evol 2017 04;105:13-23

Department of Anthropology, Washington University, Saint Louis, MO 63130, USA. Electronic address:

The causes of Neandertal anterior tooth wear patterns, including labial rounding, labial scratches, and differential anterior-posterior wear, have been debated for decades. The most common explanation is the "stuff-and-cut" hypothesis, which describes Neandertals clamping down on a piece of meat and slicing a portion close to their lips. "Stuff-and-cut" has been accepted as a general aspect of Neandertal behavior without fully assessing its variability. This study analyzes anterior dental microwear textures across habitats, locations, and time intervals to discern possible variation in Neandertal anterior tooth-use behavior. Forty-five Neandertals from 24 sites were analyzed, represented by high-resolution replicas of permanent anterior teeth. The labial surface was scanned for antemortem microwear using a white-light confocal profiler. The resultant 3D-point clouds, representing 204 × 276 μm for each specimen, were uploaded into SSFA software packages for texture characterization. Statistical analyses, including MANOVAs, ANOVAs, and pairwise comparisons, were completed on ranked microwear data. Neandertal descriptive statistics were also compared to 10 bioarchaeological samples of known or inferred dietary and behavioral regimes. The Neandertal sample varied significantly by habitat, suggesting this factor was a principal driving force for differences in Neandertal anterior tooth-use behaviors. The Neandertals from open habitats showed significantly lower anisotropy and higher textural fill volume than those inhabiting more closed, forested environments. The texture signature from the open-habitat Neandertals was most similar to that of the Ipiutak and Nunavut, who used their anterior teeth for intense clamping and grasping behaviors related to hide preparation. Those in more closed habitats were most similar to the Arikara, who did not participate in non-dietary behaviors. These Neandertal individuals had a broad range of texture values consistent with non-dietary and dietary behaviors, suggesting they varied more in anterior tooth-use behaviors and exploited a wider variety of plant and animal resources than did those from open habitats.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.01.004DOI Listing
April 2017

New Middle Pleistocene hominin cranium from Gruta da Aroeira (Portugal).

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2017 03 13;114(13):3397-3402. Epub 2017 Mar 13.

UNIARQ-Centro de Arqueologia da Universidade de Lisboa, Faculdade de Letras, Universidade de Lisboa, 1600-214 Lisbon, Portugal.

The Middle Pleistocene is a crucial time period for studying human evolution in Europe, because it marks the appearance of both fossil hominins ancestral to the later Neandertals and the Acheulean technology. Nevertheless, European sites containing well-dated human remains associated with an Acheulean toolkit remain scarce. The earliest European hominin crania associated with Acheulean handaxes are at the sites of Arago, Atapuerca Sima de los Huesos (SH), and Swanscombe, dating to 400-500 ka (Marine Isotope Stage 11-12). The Atapuerca (SH) fossils and the Swanscombe cranium belong to the Neandertal clade, whereas the Arago hominins have been attributed to an incipient stage of Neandertal evolution, to , or to a subspecies of A recently discovered cranium (Aroeira 3) from the Gruta da Aroeira (Almonda karst system, Portugal) dating to 390-436 ka provides important evidence on the earliest European Acheulean-bearing hominins. This cranium is represented by most of the right half of a calvarium (with the exception of the missing occipital bone) and a fragmentary right maxilla preserving part of the nasal floor and two fragmentary molars. The combination of traits in the Aroeira 3 cranium augments the previously documented diversity in the European Middle Pleistocene fossil record.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1619040114DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5380066PMC
March 2017

Late Pleistocene archaic human crania from Xuchang, China.

Science 2017 03;355(6328):969-972

Department of Anthropology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA.

Two early Late Pleistocene (~105,000- to 125,000-year-old) crania from Lingjing, Xuchang, China, exhibit a morphological mosaic with differences from and similarities to their western contemporaries. They share pan-Old World trends in encephalization and in supraorbital, neurocranial vault, and nuchal gracilization. They reflect eastern Eurasian ancestry in having low, sagittally flat, and inferiorly broad neurocrania. They share occipital (suprainiac and nuchal torus) and temporal labyrinthine (semicircular canal) morphology with the Neandertals. This morphological combination reflects Pleistocene human evolutionary patterns in general biology, as well as both regional continuity and interregional population dynamics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aal2482DOI Listing
March 2017

Ontogeny of modern human longitudinal body and transverse shoulder proportions.

Am J Hum Biol 2017 Mar 26;29(2). Epub 2016 Sep 26.

Department of Anthropology, Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri, 63130.

Objectives: Whereas variation of modern human adult body size and shape has been widely studied in the context of ecogeographical clines, little is known about the differential growth patterns of transverse and longitudinal dimensions among human populations. Our study explored the ontogenetic variation of those body proportions in modern humans.

Methods: We compared results from four different approaches to study cross-sectional skeletal samples of Africans (n = 43), Amerindians (n = 69) and Europeans (n = 40) from 0 to 14 years of age. Clavicle, humerus, and femur intermetaphyseal lengths, and femoral distal metaphyseal breadth, were measured. Average ontogenetic trajectories were computed in order to compare the growth patterns of the three groups.

Results: Our findings demonstrated that the three geographical groups shared similar absolute and relative patterns of change with age for the four dimensions considered. Although interpopulation differences existed in transverse to longitudinal as well as in interlimb proportions, those differences did not seem to remain constant throughout ontogeny, similar to what has been shown for intralimb proportions. Growth rates of transverse shoulder proportions differed between populations from different regions after 10 years, whereas those for longitudinal proportions were very similar.

Conclusions: The ontogeny of transverse shoulder proportions is more complex than what is observed for bi-iliac breadth, suggesting that transverse shoulder to limb proportions are not solely influenced by ecogeographical conditions. Our analysis demonstrates that methodologies that incorporate critical dimensions of body form could shed new light on human adaptation in both paleontological and neontological contexts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.22925DOI Listing
March 2017

Middle pleistocene human remains from Tourville-la-Rivière (Normandy, France) and their archaeological context.

PLoS One 2014 8;9(10):e104111. Epub 2014 Oct 8.

Department of Anthropology, Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri, United States of America.

Despite numerous sites of great antiquity having been excavated since the end of the 19th century, Middle Pleistocene human fossils are still extremely rare in northwestern Europe. Apart from the two partial crania from Biache-Saint-Vaast in northern France, all known human fossils from this period have been found from ten sites in either Germany or England. Here we report the discovery of three long bones from the same left upper limb discovered at the open-air site of Tourville-la-Rivière in the Seine Valley of northern France. New U-series and combined US-ESR dating on animal teeth produced an age range for the site of 183 to 236 ka. In combination with paleoecological indicators, they indicate an age toward the end of MIS 7. The human remains from Tourville-la-Rivière are attributable to the Neandertal lineage based on morphological and metric analyses. An abnormal crest on the left humerus represents a deltoid muscle enthesis. Micro- and or macro-traumas connected to repetitive movements similar to those documented for professional throwing athletes could be origin of abnormality.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0104111PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4189787PMC
June 2015

Temporal labyrinths of eastern Eurasian Pleistocene humans.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2014 Jul 7;111(29):10509-13. Epub 2014 Jul 7.

Department of Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130

One of the morphological features that has been identified as uniquely derived for the western Eurasian Neandertals concerns the relative sizes and positions of their semicircular canals. In particular, they exhibit a relatively small anterior canal, a relatively larger lateral one, and a more inferior position of the posterior one relative to the lateral one. These discussions have not included full paleontological data on eastern Eurasian Pleistocene human temporal labyrinths, which have the potential to provide a broader context for assessing Pleistocene Homo trait polarities. We present the temporal labyrinths of four eastern Eurasian Pleistocene Homo, one each of Early (Lantian 1), Middle (Hexian 1), and Late (Xujiayao 15) Pleistocene archaic humans and one early modern human (Liujiang 1). The labyrinths of the two earlier specimens and the most recent one conform to the proportions seen among western early and recent modern humans, reinforcing the modern human pattern as generally ancestral for the genus Homo. The labyrinth of Xujiayao 15 is in the middle of the Neandertal variation and separate from the other samples. This eastern Eurasian labyrinthine dichotomy occurs in the context of none of the distinctive Neandertal external temporal or other cranial features. As such, it raises questions regarding possible cranial and postcranial morphological correlates of Homo labyrinthine variation, the use of individual "Neandertal" features for documenting population affinities, and the nature of late archaic human variation across Eurasia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1410735111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4115500PMC
July 2014

Neandertal clavicle length.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2014 Mar 10;111(12):4438-42. Epub 2014 Mar 10.

Department of Anthropology, Washington University, Saint Louis, MO 63130.

The Late Pleistocene archaic humans from western Eurasia (the Neandertals) have been described for a century as exhibiting absolutely and relatively long clavicles. This aspect of their body proportions has been used to distinguish them from modern humans, invoked to account for other aspects of their anatomy and genetics, used in assessments of their phylogenetic polarities, and used as evidence for Late Pleistocene population relationships. However, it has been unclear whether the usual scaling of Neandertal clavicular lengths to their associated humeral lengths reflects long clavicles, short humeri, or both. Neandertal clavicle lengths, along with those of early modern humans and latitudinally diverse recent humans, were compared with both humeral lengths and estimated body masses (based on femoral head diameters). The Neandertal do have long clavicles relative their humeri, even though they fall within the ranges of variation of early and recent humans. However, when scaled to body masses, their humeral lengths are relatively short, and their clavicular lengths are indistinguishable from those of Late Pleistocene and recent modern humans. The few sufficiently complete Early Pleistocene Homo clavicles seem to have relative lengths also well within recent human variation. Therefore, appropriately scaled clavicular length seems to have varied little through the genus Homo, and it should not be used to account for other aspects of Neandertal biology or their phylogenetic status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1402439111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3970543PMC
March 2014

An enlarged parietal foramen in the late archaic Xujiayao 11 neurocranium from Northern China, and rare anomalies among Pleistocene Homo.

PLoS One 2013 18;8(3):e59587. Epub 2013 Mar 18.

Key Laboratory of Evolutionary Systematics of Vertebrates, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.

We report here a neurocranial abnormality previously undescribed in Pleistocene human fossils, an enlarged parietal foramen (EPF) in the early Late Pleistocene Xujiayao 11 parietal bones from the Xujiayao (Houjiayao) site, northern China. Xujiayao 11 is a pair of partial posteromedial parietal bones from an adult. It exhibits thick cranial vault bones, arachnoid granulations, a deviated posterior sagittal suture, and a unilateral (right) parietal lacuna with a posteriorly-directed and enlarged endocranial vascular sulcus. Differential diagnosis indicates that the perforation is a congenital defect, an enlarged parietal foramen, commonly associated with cerebral venous and cranial vault anomalies. It was not lethal given the individual's age-at-death, but it may have been associated with secondary neurological deficiencies. The fossil constitutes the oldest evidence in human evolution of this very rare condition (a single enlarged parietal foramen). In combination with developmental and degenerative abnormalities in other Pleistocene human remains, it suggests demographic and survival patterns among Pleistocene Homo that led to an elevated frequency of conditions unknown or rare among recent humans.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0059587PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3601107PMC
September 2013

Late Middle Pleistocene hominin teeth from Panxian Dadong, South China.

J Hum Evol 2013 May 5;64(5):337-55. Epub 2013 Mar 5.

Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origin of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044, China.

The hominin teeth and evidence of hominin activities recovered from 1991 to 2005 at the Panxian Dadong site in South China are dated to the late Middle Pleistocene (MIS 8-6 or ca. 130-300 ka), a period for which very little is known about the morphology of Asian populations. The present study provides the first detailed morphometric description and comparisons of four hominin teeth (I(1), C1, P(3) and P3) from this site. Our study shows that the Panxian Dadong teeth combine archaic and derived features that align them with Middle and Upper Pleistocene fossils from East and West Asia and Europe. These teeth do not display any typical Neanderthal features and they are generally more derived than other contemporaneous populations from Asia and Africa. However, the derived traits are not diagnostic enough to specifically link the Panxian Dadong teeth to Homo sapiens, a common problem when analyzing the Middle Pleistocene dental record from Africa and Asia. These findings are contextualized in the discussion of the evolutionary course of Asian Middle Pleistocene hominins, and they highlight the necessity of incorporating the Asian fossil record in the still open debate about the origin of H. sapiens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2012.10.012DOI Listing
May 2013

Structural analysis of the Kresna 11 Homo erectus femoral shaft (Sangiran, Java).

J Hum Evol 2012 Nov 1;63(5):741-9. Epub 2012 Oct 1.

Département de Préhistoire, UMR 7194, Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, 43 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France.

The biomechanical characterization of lower limb long bones in the chrono-ecogeographically diverse species Homo erectus is a fundamental step for assessing evolutionary changes in locomotor mode and body shape that occurred within the genus Homo. However, the samples available for the Early and earlier Middle Pleistocene are small and widely scattered in time and space, thus limiting our understanding of the nature and polarity of morphological trends. Compared to the African fossil record, loading histories based on detailed biomechanical assessment of diaphyseal strength in Indonesian H. erectus lower limb long bones have not been assessed. By using a microtomographic record (μCT), we performed a quantitative analysis of the biomechanical properties and structural organization of Kresna 11, a late Early Pleistocene adult H. erectus femoral shaft from the Sangiran Dome, Central Java. Relative to the modern human condition, Kresna 11 shows the predominant mediolateral cortical thickening (hypertrophy) and the distal displacement of the minimum diaphyseal breadth characteristic of early Homo femora, associated nonetheless with relatively modest cortical thickness within the mid-proximal portion. Synthetic functional imaging of the shaft through the planar representation of its inner structure has revealed distal thickening of the medial cortex, a feature previously unreported in H. erectus. The increase in relative mediolateral bending strength observed in Kresna 11 supports the hypothesis that, rather than simply reflecting differences in patterns of locomotor loading, biomechanical properties of the femoral shaft in archaic Homo are strongly influenced by body shape, i.e., variations in pelvic breadth and femoral neck length.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2012.08.003DOI Listing
November 2012

Brief communication: the human humerus from the Broken Hill Mine, Kabwe, Zambia.

Authors:
Erik Trinkaus

Am J Phys Anthropol 2012 Oct 24;149(2):312-7. Epub 2012 Jul 24.

Department of Anthropology, Washington University, Saint Louis, MO 63130, USA.

The distal half of a right human humerus (E.898), recovered ex situ in 1925 by Hrdlička at the Broken Hill Mine, Kabwe, Zambia, has figured prominently in assessments of Middle Pleistocene Homo postcranial variation and of the phylogenetic polarity and functional anatomy of Pleistocene Homo upper limb morphology. Reassessment of distal humeral features that distinguish modern human and some archaic Homo humeri, especially relative olecranon breadth and medial and lateral pillar thicknesses, confirm previous studies placing it morphologically close to recent humans, as well as possibly to Early Pleistocene Homo. However, it completely lacks stratigraphic context, and there is faunal and archeological evidence for human activity at Broken Hill from the Middle Pleistocene to the Holocene. Given its uncertain geological age and modern human morphology, the Broken Hill E.898 humerus should not be used in analyses of Pleistocene humans until it is securely dated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.22118DOI Listing
October 2012

Middle Paleolithic human remains from the Gruta Da Oliveira (Torres Novas), Portugal.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2012 Sep 21;149(1):39-51. Epub 2012 May 21.

Department of Anthropology, Washington University, Saint Louis, MO 63130, USA.

Additional Middle Paleolithic human remains from layers 17, 18, and 22 of the Gruta da Oliveira, Portugal consist of a proximal manual phalanx 2 (Oliveira 5), a partial postcanine tooth (Oliveira 6), a humeral diaphysis (Oliveira 7), a distal mandibular molar (Oliveira 8), and a mandibular premolar (P(3) ) (Oliveira 9). Oliveira 5, 6, and 8 are unremarkable for Late Pleistocene humans. The Oliveira 7 right humerus is moderately robust or the individual had the stocky body proportions of other European (including Iberian) Neandertals. The Oliveira 9 P(3) has a large and symmetrical crown and lacks a distal accessory ridge and accessory lingual cusps, overlapping both Neandertal and recent human ranges of variation. It contrasts with at least recent human P(3) s in having relatively thin enamel. These join the Oliveira 1 to 4 remains in further documenting early MIS 3 Neandertal morphology in western Iberia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.22091DOI Listing
September 2012

The Early Aurignacian human remains from La Quina-Aval (France).

J Hum Evol 2012 May 27;62(5):605-17. Epub 2012 Mar 27.

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.

There is a dearth of diagnostic human remains securely associated with the Early Aurignacian of western Europe, despite the presence of similarly aged early modern human remains from further east. One small and fragmentary sample of such remains consists of the two partial immature mandibles plus teeth from the Early Aurignacian of La Quina-Aval, Charente, France. The La Quina-Aval 4 mandible exhibits a prominent anterior symphyseal tuber symphyseos on a vertical symphysis and a narrow anterior dental arcade, both features of early modern humans. The dental remains from La Quina-Aval 1 to 4 (a dm(1), 2 dm(2), a P(4) and a P(4)) are unexceptional in size and present occlusal configurations that combine early modern human features with a few retained ancestral ones. Securely dated to ~33 ka (14)C BP (~38 ka cal BP), these remains serve to confirm the association of early modern humans with the Early Aurignacian in western Europe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2012.02.001DOI Listing
May 2012

Dentoalveolar paleopathology of the early modern humans from Zhirendong, South China.

Int J Paleopathol 2012 Mar 19;2(1):10-18. Epub 2012 Jul 19.

Department of Anthropology, Washington University, Saint Louis, MO 63130, USA.

The fragmentary early Late Pleistocene, early modern human remains from Zhirendong, south China, present a suite of dentoalveolar pathologies and anomalies. The lesions include lower molar buccal alveolar resorption (Zhiren 1), massive dental caries in a mandibular molar associated with hypercementosis (Zhiren 2), and bilateral mesial premolar (P) periapical lesions (granulomata with a probable left abscess) (Zhiren 3). The Zhiren 3 periapical lesions, given their bilaterality and the non-pathological incisor and canine alveoli, suggest dens evaginatus, although absence of the Zhiren 3 dentition prevents full evaluation of this diagnosis. These periodontal abnormalities join a number of similar lesions in Pleistocene humans, of varying severity. The carious lesion is noteworthy, given the rarity of them in the Pleistocene human fossil record. In addition, Zhiren 3 exhibits unilateral P rotation and bilateral I rotation (winging).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2012.06.003DOI Listing
March 2012

Antemortem trauma and survival in the late Middle Pleistocene human cranium from Maba, South China.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2011 Dec 21;108(49):19558-62. Epub 2011 Nov 21.

Key Laboratory of Evolutionary Systematics of Vertebrates, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044, China.

Paleopathological assessment of the late Middle Pleistocene archaic human cranium from Maba, South China, has documented a right frontal squamous exocranially concave and ridged lesion with endocranial protrusion. Differential diagnosis indicates that it resulted from localized blunt force trauma, due to an accident or, more probably, interhuman aggression. As such it joins a small sample of pre-last glacial maximum Pleistocene human remains with probable evidence of humanly induced trauma. Its remodeled condition also indicates survival of a serious pathological condition, a circumstance that is increasingly documented for archaic and modern Homo through the Pleistocene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1117113108DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3241811PMC
December 2011