Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Levantine Late Pleistocene Homo heterogeneity as revealed by postcanine dentition

Gerhard W. Weber, Cinzia Fornai, Viktoria A. Krenn, Hila May, Rachel Sarig, Israel Hershkovitz
AAPA 2018, Meeting Program Abstracts
April 11-14, 2018


Homo sapiens has been present in eastern Africa since MIS6 and reached west Asia at least during the subsequent interglacial. The fossil remains from Qafzeh cave (Israel, 120-90kya) might be among the first modern humans migrating into Eurasia, possibly also encountering archaic populations. They show a combination of modern and archaic features and morphological variation within the site has been described as being remarkably high. Amud cave (Israel, 70-50kya) is known instead for Neanderthal remains with peculiar characteristics, stimulating discussions about hybridization. While the cranial remains are often central to debates, we focus on several postcanine maxillary and mandibular teeth (P3s, P4s, M2s) to assess morphological variation within the Qafzeh/Amud populations, compared to a sample of modern human, Neanderthal and Middle Pleistocene Homo specimens. The dentine crowns were represented by landmarks and semilandmarks collected from ╬╝CT data. The 3D landmark configurations were analyzed using geometric morphometrics which allow investigating shape variation. The Qafzeh teeth showed typical patterns such as a buccal shift of the occlusal ridge in upper premolars, rather large hypocones in the upper M2, and a heartshaped occlusal ridge for the lower M2. Most, but not all, Qafzeh teeth cluster clearly with modern humans and variation is indeed noticeably high. Amud, represented only by upper P4 and M2 owing to heavy tooth wear, shows a Neanderthal shape, but higher premolar crowns and a marked reduction of the talon in M2.

Factors explaining the shape heterogeneity of Levantine Late Pleistocene Homo still need to be explored.

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