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On Roth’s “human fossil” from Baradero, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina: morphological and genetic analysis


Menéndez, Lumila Paula; Barbieri, Chiara; López Cruz, Idalia Guadalupe; Schmelzle, Thomas; Breidenstein, Abagail M; Barquera, Rodrigo; Borzi, Guido; Schuenemann, Verena J; Sanchez-Villagra, Marcelo R (2023). On Roth’s “human fossil” from Baradero, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina: morphological and genetic analysis. Swiss Journal of Palaeontology, 142(1):26-45.

Abstract

The “human fossil” from Baradero, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, is a collection of skeleton parts first recovered by the paleontologist Santiago Roth and further studied by the anthropologist Rudolf Martin. By the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century it was considered one of the oldest human skeletons from South America's southern cone. Here, we present the results of an interdisciplinary approach to study and contextualize the ancient individual remains. We discuss the context of the finding by first compiling the available evidence associated with the historical information and any previous scientific publications on this individual. Then, we conducted an osteobiographical assessment, by which we evaluated the sex, age, and overall preservation of the skeleton based on morphological features. To obtain a 3D virtual reconstruction of the skull, we performed high resolution CT-scans on selected skull fragments and the mandible. This was followed by the extraction of bone tissue and tooth samples for radiocarbon and genetic analyses, which brought only limited results due to poor preservation and possible contamination. We estimate that the individual from Baradero is a middle-aged adult male. We conclude that the revision of foundational collections with current methodological tools brings new insights and clarifies long held assumptions on the significance of samples that were recovered when archaeology was not yet professionalized.

Abstract

The “human fossil” from Baradero, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, is a collection of skeleton parts first recovered by the paleontologist Santiago Roth and further studied by the anthropologist Rudolf Martin. By the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century it was considered one of the oldest human skeletons from South America's southern cone. Here, we present the results of an interdisciplinary approach to study and contextualize the ancient individual remains. We discuss the context of the finding by first compiling the available evidence associated with the historical information and any previous scientific publications on this individual. Then, we conducted an osteobiographical assessment, by which we evaluated the sex, age, and overall preservation of the skeleton based on morphological features. To obtain a 3D virtual reconstruction of the skull, we performed high resolution CT-scans on selected skull fragments and the mandible. This was followed by the extraction of bone tissue and tooth samples for radiocarbon and genetic analyses, which brought only limited results due to poor preservation and possible contamination. We estimate that the individual from Baradero is a middle-aged adult male. We conclude that the revision of foundational collections with current methodological tools brings new insights and clarifies long held assumptions on the significance of samples that were recovered when archaeology was not yet professionalized.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Paleontology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
08 Research Priority Programs > Evolution in Action: From Genomes to Ecosystems
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Paleontology
Language:English
Date:1 December 2023
Deposited On:11 Oct 2023 08:41
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:39
Publisher:SpringerOpen
ISSN:1664-2376
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s13358-023-00293-3
PubMed ID:37810206
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID183578
  • : Project TitleOut of Asia: Linguistic Diversity and Population History
  • : FunderRheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)