Publications by authors named "Juan Alberto Sanchis-Gimeno"

10 Publications

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Assessing thoraco-pelvic covariation in Homo sapiens and Pan troglodytes: A 3D geometric morphometric approach.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2020 11 30;173(3):514-534. Epub 2020 Aug 30.

Departamento de Paleobiología, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC), Madrid, Spain.

Objectives: Understanding thoraco-pelvic integration in Homo sapiens and their closest living relatives (genus Pan) is of great importance within the context of human body shape evolution. However, studies assessing thoraco-pelvic covariation across Hominoidea species are scarce, although recent research would suggest shared covariation patterns in humans and chimpanzees but also species-specific features, with sexual dimorphism and allometry influencing thoraco-pelvic covariation in these taxa differently.

Material And Methods: N = 30 adult H. sapiens and N = 10 adult Pan troglodytes torso 3D models were analyzed using 3D geometric morphometrics and linear measurements. Effects of sexual dimorphism and allometry on thoraco-pelvic covariation were assessed via regression analyses, and patterns of thoraco-pelvic covariation in humans and chimpanzees were computed via Two-Block Partial Least Squares analyses.

Results: Results confirm the existence of common aspects of thoraco-pelvic covariation in humans and chimpanzees, and also species-specific covariation in H. sapiens that is strongly influenced by sexual dimorphism and allometry. Species-specific covariation patterns in chimpanzees could not be confirmed because of the small sample size, but metrics point to a correspondence between the most caudal ribs and iliac crest morphology that would be irrespective of sex.

Conclusions: This study suggests that humans and chimpanzees share common aspects of thoraco-pelvic covariation but might differ in others. In humans, torso integration is strongly influenced by sexual dimorphism and allometry, whilst in chimpanzees it may not be. This study also highlights the importance not only of torso widths but also of torso depths when describing patterns of thoraco-pelvic covariation in primates. Larger samples are necessary to support these interpretations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.24103DOI Listing
November 2020

Three-dimensional geometric morphometrics of thorax-pelvis covariation and its potential for predicting the thorax morphology: A case study on Kebara 2 Neandertal.

J Hum Evol 2020 10 14;147:102854. Epub 2020 Aug 14.

Paleoanthropology Group, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC), J.G. Abascal 2, 28006, Madrid, Spain.

The skeletal torso is a complex structure of outstanding importance in understanding human body shape evolution, but reconstruction usually entails an element of subjectivity as researchers apply their own anatomical expertise to the process. Among different fossil reconstruction methods, 3D geometric morphometric techniques have been increasingly used in the last decades. Two-block partial least squares analysis has shown great potential for predicting missing elements by exploiting the covariation between two structures (blocks) in a reference sample: one block can be predicted from the other one based on the strength of covariation between blocks. The first aim of this study is to test whether this predictive approach can be used for predicting thorax morphologies from pelvis morphologies within adult Homo sapiens reference samples with known covariation between the thorax and the pelvis. The second aim is to apply this method to Kebara 2 Neandertal (Israel, ∼60 ka) to predict its thorax morphology using two different pelvis reconstructions as predictors. We measured 134 true landmarks, 720 curve semilandmarks, and 160 surface semilandmarks on 60 3D virtual torso models segmented from CT scans. We conducted three two-block partial least squares analyses between the thorax (block 1) and the pelvis (block 2) based on the H. sapiens reference samples after performing generalized Procrustes superimposition on each block separately. Comparisons of these predictions in full shape space by means of Procrustes distances show that the male-only predictive model yields the most reliable predictions within modern humans. In addition, Kebara 2 thorax predictions based on this model concur with the thorax morphology proposed for Neandertals. The method presented here does not aim to replace other techniques, but to rather complement them through quantitative prediction of a virtual 'scaffold' to articulate the thoracic fossil elements, thus extending the potential of missing data estimation beyond the methods proposed in previous works.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2020.102854DOI Listing
October 2020

Response to Letter to the Editor by Dr Rios and Dr Cardoso.

J Anat 2020 12 13;237(6):1189-1191. Epub 2020 Aug 13.

Department of Paleobiology, Paleoanthropology Group, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC), Madrid, Spain.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/joa.13267DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7704225PMC
December 2020

Rib cage anatomy in Homo erectus suggests a recent evolutionary origin of modern human body shape.

Nat Ecol Evol 2020 09 6;4(9):1178-1187. Epub 2020 Jul 6.

Centre for Human Evolution Research, Department of Earth Sciences, The Natural History Museum, London, UK.

The tall and narrow body shape of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) evolved via changes in the thorax, pelvis and limbs. It is debated, however, whether these modifications first evolved together in African Homo erectus, or whether H. erectus had a more primitive body shape that was distinct from both the more ape-like Australopithecus species and H. sapiens. Here we present the first quantitative three-dimensional reconstruction of the thorax of the juvenile H. erectus skeleton, KNM-WT 15000, from Nariokotome, Kenya, along with its estimated adult rib cage, for comparison with H. sapiens and the Kebara 2 Neanderthal. Our three-dimensional reconstruction demonstrates a short, mediolaterally wide and anteroposteriorly deep thorax in KNM-WT 15000 that differs considerably from the much shallower thorax of H. sapiens, pointing to a recent evolutionary origin of fully modern human body shape. The large respiratory capacity of KNM-WT 15000 is compatible with the relatively stocky, more primitive, body shape of H. erectus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-1240-4DOI Listing
September 2020

Krapina atlases suggest a high prevalence of anatomical variations in the first cervical vertebra of Neanderthals.

J Anat 2020 09 21;237(3):579-586. Epub 2020 May 21.

Department of Anatomy and Human Embryology, Giaval Research Group, Faculty of Medicine, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain.

The first cervical vertebra, atlas, and its anatomical variants have been widely studied in Homo sapiens. However, in Neanderthals, the presence of anatomical variants of the atlas has been very little studied until very recently. Only the Neanderthal group from the El Sidrón site (Spain) has been analysed with regard to the anatomical variants of the atlas. A high prevalence of anatomical variants has been described in this sample, which points to low genetic diversity in this Neanderthal group. Even so, the high prevalence of anatomical variations detected in El Sidrón Neanderthal atlases needs to be confirmed by analysing more Neanderthal remains. In this context, we analysed the possible presence of anatomical variants in the three Neanderthal atlases recovered from the Krapina site (Croatia) within the Neanderthal lineage. Two of the three Krapina atlases presented anatomical variations. One atlas (Krapina 98) had an unclosed transverse foramen and the other (Krapina 99) presented a non-fused anterior atlas arch. Moreover, an extended review of the bibliography also showed these anatomical variations in other Middle and Upper Pleistocene hominins, leading us to hypothesise that anatomical variations of the atlas had a higher prevalence in extinct hominins than in modern humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/joa.13215DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7476204PMC
September 2020

The torso integration hypothesis revisited in Homo sapiens: Contributions to the understanding of hominin body shape evolution.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2018 12 27;167(4):777-790. Epub 2018 Sep 27.

Paleoanthropology Group, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid, Spain.

Objectives: Lower thoracic widths and curvatures track upper pelvic widths and iliac blades curvatures in hominins and other primates (torso integration hypothesis). However, recent studies suggest that sexual dimorphism could challenge this assumption in Homo sapiens. We test the torso integration hypothesis in two modern human populations, both considering and excluding the effect of sexual dimorphism. We further assess covariation patterns between different thoracic and pelvic levels, and we explore the allometric effects on torso shape variation.

Material And Methods: A sex-balanced sample of 50 anatomically connected torsos (25 Mediterraneans, 25 Sub-Saharan Africans) was segmented from computed tomography scans. We compared the maximum medio-lateral width at seventh-ninth rib levels with pelvic bi-iliac breadth in males and females within both populations. We measured 1,030 (semi)landmarks on 3D torso models, and torso shape variation, mean size and shape comparisons, thoraco-pelvic covariation and allometric effects were quantified through 3D geometric morphometrics.

Results: Females show narrow thoraces and wide pelves and males show wide thoraces and narrow pelves, although this trend is more evident in Mediterraneans than in Sub-Saharans. Equal thoracic and pelvic widths, depths and curvatures were found in absence of sexual dimorphism. The highest strength of covariation was found between the lowest rib levels and the ilia, and allometric analyses showed that smaller torsos were wider than larger torsos.

Conclusions: This is the first study testing statistically the torso integration hypothesis in anatomically connected torsos. We propose a new and more complex torso integration model in H. sapiens with sexual dimorphism leading to different thoracic and pelvic widths and curvatures. These findings have important implications in hominin body shape reconstructions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23705DOI Listing
December 2018

Shape change in the atlas with congenital midline non-union of its posterior arch: a morphometric geometric study.

Spine J 2017 10 29;17(10):1523-1528. Epub 2017 May 29.

Paleoanthropology Group, Department of Paleobiology, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC, José Gutierrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain.

Background Context: The congenital midline non-union of the posterior arch of the atlas is a developmental variant present at a frequency ranging from 0.7% to 3.9%. Most of the reported cases correspond to incidental findings during routine medical examination. In cases of posterior non-union, hypertrophy of the anterior arch and cortical bone thickening of the posterior arches have been observed and interpreted as adaptive responses of the atlas to increased mechanical stress.

Purpose: We sought to determine if the congenital non-union of the posterior arch results in a change in the shape of the atlas.

Study Design/setting: This study is an analysis of the first cervical vertebrae from osteological collections through morphometric geometric techniques.

Methods: A total of 21 vertebrae were scanned with a high-resolution three-dimensional scanner (Artec Space Spider, Artec Group, Luxembourg). To capture vertebral shape, 19 landmarks and 100 semilandmarks were placed on the vertebrae. Procrustes superimposition was applied to obtain size and shape data (MorphoJ 1.02; Klingenberg, 2011), which were analyzed through principal component analysis (PCA) and mean shape comparisons.

Results: The PCA resulted in two components explaining 22.32% and 18.8% of the total shape variance. The graphic plotting of both components indicates a clear shape difference between the control atlas and the atlas with posterior non-union. This observation was supported by statistically significant differences in mean shape comparisons between both types of vertebra (p<.0001). Changes in shape were observed in the superior and inferior articular facets, the transverse processes, and the neural canal between the control and non-union vertebrae.

Conclusions: Non-union of the posterior arch of the atlas is associated with significant changes in the shape of the vertebra.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2017.05.012DOI Listing
October 2017

In Vivo 3D Analysis of Thoracic Kinematics: Changes in Size and Shape During Breathing and Their Implications for Respiratory Function in Recent Humans and Fossil Hominins.

Anat Rec (Hoboken) 2017 02 8;300(2):255-264. Epub 2016 Nov 8.

Hospital Universitario La Paz Biomedical Research Institute (Idipaz), Madrid, Spain.

The human ribcage expands and contracts during respiration as a result of the interaction between the morphology of the ribs, the costo-vertebral articulations and respiratory muscles. Variations in these factors are said to produce differences in the kinematics of the upper thorax and the lower thorax, but the extent and nature of any such differences and their functional implications have not yet been quantified. Applying geometric morphometrics we measured 402 three-dimensional (3D) landmarks and semilandmarks of 3D models built from computed tomographic scans of thoraces of 20 healthy adult subjects in maximal forced inspiration (FI) and expiration (FE). We addressed the hypothesis that upper and lower parts of the ribcage differ in kinematics and compared different models of functional compartmentalization. During inspiration the thorax superior to the level of the sixth ribs undergoes antero-posterior expansion that differs significantly from the medio-lateral expansion characteristic of the thorax below this level. This supports previous suggestions for dividing the thorax into a pulmonary and diaphragmatic part. While both compartments differed significantly in mean size and shape during FE and FI the size changes in the lower compartment were significantly larger. Additionally, for the same degree of kinematic shape change, the pulmonary thorax changes less in size than the diaphragmatic thorax. Therefore, variations in the form and function of the diaphragmatic thorax will have a strong impact on respiratory function. This has important implications for interpreting differences in thorax shape in terms of respiratory functional differences within and among recent humans and fossil hominins. Anat Rec, 300:255-264, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ar.23503DOI Listing
February 2017

Possible Further Evidence of Low Genetic Diversity in the El Sidrón (Asturias, Spain) Neandertal Group: Congenital Clefts of the Atlas.

PLoS One 2015 29;10(9):e0136550. Epub 2015 Sep 29.

Área de Prehistoria, Department of History, Universidad de Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain.

We present here the first cases in Neandertals of congenital clefts of the arch of the atlas. Two atlases from El Sidrón, northern Spain, present respectively a defect of the posterior (frequency in extant modern human populations ranging from 0.73% to 3.84%), and anterior (frequency in extant modern human populations ranging from 0.087% to 0.1%) arch, a condition in most cases not associated with any clinical manifestation. The fact that two out of three observable atlases present a low frequency congenital condition, together with previously reported evidence of retained deciduous mandibular canine in two out of ten dentitions from El Sidrón, supports the previous observation based on genetic evidence that these Neandertals constituted a group with close genetic relations. Some have proposed for humans and other species that the presence of skeletal congenital conditions, although without clinical significance, could be used as a signal of endogamy or inbreeding. In the present case this interpretation would fit the general scenario of high incidence of rare conditions among Pleistocene humans and the specific scenariothat emerges from Neandertal paleogenetics, which points to long-term small and decreasing population size with reduced and isolated groups. Adverse environmental factors affecting early pregnancies would constitute an alternative, non-exclusive, explanation for a high incidence of congenital conditions. Further support or rejection of these interpretations will come from new genetic and skeletal evidence from Neandertal remains.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0136550PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4587856PMC
June 2016