Is the Narmada hominid an Indian Homo erectus?

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Abstract

In 1982 a fossil hominid calvaria was found in a middle Pleistocene deposit in the central Narmada valley of Madhya Pradesh, India, and was assigned to the new taxon Homo erectus narmadensis. Subsequently, morphometric studies of the specimen were conducted by two separate research teams from France and the United States, both in collaboration with Indian colleagues. Results of the most recent study, which includes morphometric and comparative investigations, lead to the conclusion that “Narmada Man” is appropriately identified as Homo sapiens. While the calvaria shares some anatomical features with Asian Homo erectus specimens, it exhibits a broader suite of morphological and mensural characteristics suggesting affinities with early Homo sapiens fossils from Asia, Europe, and Africa as well as demonstrating that the Narmada calvaria possesses some unique anatomical features, perhaps because the specimen reflects the incoherent classificatory condition of the genus Homo.

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