Skeletal Anomalies in The Neandertal Family
Yuliet Arias (cE3c – NHS)
The causes of the extinction of the Neandertal populations in western Eurasia by 40,000 BP is a topic of intense debate in human evolution. Some interpretations attribute this extinction to competition with early anatomical modern humans, which would present differences expressed for instance through more efficient exploitation of dietary resources, possibly related to differential cognitive, behavioral and cultural abilities, that could rest on life-history and ontogenetic differences. However, Important contributions to Neandertal paleodemography in this direction come from genetic studies, where high levels of inbreeding, or mating among relatives, and a general decrease in heterozygosity have been observed.
In the present study we present the complete study of the 1674 identified skeletal specimens from El Sidrón. Altogether, 17 congenital anomalies were observed (narrowing of the internal nasal fossa, retained deciduous canine, clefts of the first cervical vertebra, unilateral hypoplasia of the second cervical vertebra, clefting of the twelfth thoracic vertebra, diminutive thoracic or lumbar rib, os centrale carpi and bipartite scaphoid, tripartite patella, left foot anomaly and cuboid-navicular coalition), with at least four individuals presenting congenital conditions (clefts of the first cervical vertebra). At 49,000 years ago, the Neandertals from El Sidrón, with genetic and skeletal evidence of inbreeding, could be representative of the beginning of the demographic collapse of this hominin phenotype.
Thursday, March 24, 2022, at 12h00-13h00 (Lisbon, Portugal time)