Robusticity of hand phalanges: Relevance to the origin of the altai Neanderthals

M. B. Mednikova, M. V. Shunkov, S. V. Markin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The cross-sectional geometry of middle phalanges of hand digits 2-4 in fi ve European and Asian Neanderthals (La Ferrassie 1, Kiik-Koba 1, Okladnikov 2 and 5, and Chagyrskaya 16-3-12) and fi ve Cro-Magnons (Kostenki 14, Telmanovskaya TII 175 and TII 173, Sungir 1, and Abri Pataud 26227) was assessed by means of microtomography. Both t axons reveal a wide range of individual variability in their indices of inner robusticity. Both the most robust and the most gracile variants in Neanderthals were recorded in the Altai (Okladnikov and Chagyrskaya caves, respectively), which confi rms previous observations about the high morphological diversity among Neanderthals in that area, and the presence of at least two morphological variants among them. In European Upper Paleolithic Homo sapiens, inner phalangeal robusticity is generally higher than in Neanderthals, attaining medullary stenosis in the Kostenki 14 male. Neither sex nor age nor even mechanical stress appear to have affected robusticity. Hyper-robust variants were recognized in both Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals of supposedly hybrid origin. Geneti c studies suggest that Kostenki 14 belonged to an ancestral European metapopulation that had absorbed some Neanderthal admixture. The ancestors of the Altai Neanderthals, on the other hand, included not only Denisovans but also early anatomically modern humans before their migration to Siberia. Extreme phalangeal robusticity in Middle and Upper Paleolithic Eurasians, then, might be a legacy of early anatomically modern humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-135
Number of pages10
JournalArchaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia
Volume45
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Biological age
  • European Upper Paleolithic Homo sapiens
  • Hand phalanges
  • Inner robusticity
  • Microtomography
  • Neanderthals
  • Physical stress
  • Sex
  • Tubular bones

OECD FOS+WOS

  • 5.09.EN CULTURAL STUDIES
  • 5.04.BF ANTHROPOLOGY
  • 6.01 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY

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