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The growth pattern of Neandertals, reconstructed from a juvenile skeleton from El Sidrón (Spain)

AuthorsRosas, Antonio ; Ríos, Luis; Estalrrich, Almudena ; Liversidge, Helen; García-Tabernero, Antonio ; Huguet, Rosa ; Cardoso, Hugo; Bastir, Markus ; Lalueza-Fox, Carles ; Rasilla, Marco de la; Dean, Christopher
Issue Date22-Sep-2017
PublisherAmerican Association for the Advancement of Science
CitationScience 357(6357): 1282-1287 (2017)
AbstractOntogenetic studies help us understand the processes of evolutionary change. Previous studies on Neandertals have focused mainly on dental development and inferred an accelerated pace of general growth. We report on a juvenile partial skeleton (El Sidrón J1) preserving cranio-dental and postcranial remains. We used dental histology to estimate the age at death t o b e 7.7 years. Maturation of most elements fell within the expected range of modern humans at this age. The exce ptions were the atlas and mid-thoraci c ver tebrae, whi ch remai ned a t t he 5- to 6-ye a r sta ge o f d evelopment. Furthermo re, e ndocra nial features suggestthatbraingrowth wasnot yetcompleted. T he vertebral m aturation p attern and extended brain growth most likely reflect Neandertal physiology and ontogenetic energy constraints rather than any fundamental difference in the overall pace of growth in this extinct human.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1126/science.aan6463
issn: 0036-8075
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