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Early development of the Neanderthal ribcage reveals a different body shape at birth compared to modern humans


García-Martínez, Daniel; Bastir, Markus; Gómez-Olivencia, Asier; Maureille, Bruno; Golovanova, Liubov; Doronichev, Vladimir; Akazawa, Takeru; Kondo, Osamu; Ishida, Hajime; Gascho, Dominic; Zollikofer, Christoph P E; de León, Marcia Ponce; Heuzé, Yann (2020). Early development of the Neanderthal ribcage reveals a different body shape at birth compared to modern humans. Science Advances, 6(41):eabb4377.

Abstract

Ontogenetic studies provide clues for understanding important paleobiological aspects of extinct species. When compared to that of modern humans, the adult Neanderthal thorax was shorter, deeper, and wider. This is related to the wide Neanderthal body and is consistent with their hypothetical large requirements for energy and oxygen. Whether these differences were already established at birth or appeared later during development is unknown. To delve into this question, we use virtual reconstruction tools and geometric morphometrics to recover the 3D morphology of the ribcages of four Neanderthal individuals from birth to around 3 years old: Mezmaiskaya 1, Le Moustier 2, Dederiyeh 1, and Roc de Marsal. Our results indicate that the comparatively deep and short ribcage of the Neanderthals was already present at birth, as were other skeletal species-specific traits. This morphology possibly represents the plesiomorphic condition shared with Homo erectus, and it is likely linked to large energetic requirements.

Abstract

Ontogenetic studies provide clues for understanding important paleobiological aspects of extinct species. When compared to that of modern humans, the adult Neanderthal thorax was shorter, deeper, and wider. This is related to the wide Neanderthal body and is consistent with their hypothetical large requirements for energy and oxygen. Whether these differences were already established at birth or appeared later during development is unknown. To delve into this question, we use virtual reconstruction tools and geometric morphometrics to recover the 3D morphology of the ribcages of four Neanderthal individuals from birth to around 3 years old: Mezmaiskaya 1, Le Moustier 2, Dederiyeh 1, and Roc de Marsal. Our results indicate that the comparatively deep and short ribcage of the Neanderthals was already present at birth, as were other skeletal species-specific traits. This morphology possibly represents the plesiomorphic condition shared with Homo erectus, and it is likely linked to large energetic requirements.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Legal Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:340 Law
610 Medicine & health
510 Mathematics
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Multidisciplinary
Language:English
Date:1 October 2020
Deposited On:21 Dec 2020 12:54
Last Modified:01 Jan 2021 21:09
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN:2375-2548
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abb4377
PubMed ID:33028520

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