The Mousterian child from Teshik-Tash is a Neanderthal: A geometric morphometric study of the frontal bone

Authors

  • Philipp Gunz,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
    • Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany or Ekaterina Bulygina. Anuchin's Anthropology Museum MSU, Moscow, Russia
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  • Ekaterina Bulygina

    1. Anuchin's Anthropology Museum MSU, Moscow, 125009 Russia
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    • Philipp Gunz and Ekaterina Bulygina contributed equally to this work.


Abstract

In the 1930s subadult hominin remains and Mousterian artifacts were discovered in the Teshik-Tash cave in South Uzbekistan. Since then, the majority of the scientific community has interpreted Teshik-Tash as a Neanderthal. However, some have considered aspects of the morphology of the Teshik-Tash skull to be more similar to fossil modern humans such as those represented at Skhūl and Qafzeh, or to subadult Upper Paleolithic modern humans. Here we present a 3D geometric morphometric analysis of the Teshik-Tash frontal bone in the context of developmental shape changes in recent modern humans, Neanderthals, and early modern humans. We assess the phenetic affinities of Teshik-Tash to other subadult fossils, and use developmental simulations to predict possible adult shapes. We find that the morphology of the frontal bone places the Teshik-Tash child close to other Neanderthal children and that the simulated adult shapes are closest to Neanderthal adults. Taken together with genetic data showing that Teshik-Tash carried mtDNA of the Neanderthal type, as well as its occipital bun, and its shovel-shaped upper incisors, these independent lines of evidence firmly place Teshik-Tash among Neanderthals. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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