Does Homo neanderthalensis play a role in modern human ancestry? The mandibular evidence

Am J Phys Anthropol. 2002 Nov;119(3):199-204. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.10131.


Data obtained from quantifying the upper part of the mandibular ramus (the coronoid process, the condylar process, and the notch between them) lead us to conclude that Neanderthals (both European and Middle Eastern) differ more from Homo sapiens (early specimens such as Tabun II, Skhul, and Qafzeh, as well as contemporary populations from as far apart as Alaska and Australia) than the latter differs from Homo erectus. The specialized Neanderthal mandibular ramus morphology emerges as yet another element constituting the derived complex of morphologies of the mandible and face that are unique to Neanderthals. These morphologies provide further support for the contention that Neanderthals do not play a role in modern human biological ancestry, either through "regional continuity" or through any other form of anagenetic progression.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Fossils
  • Hominidae / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Mandible / anatomy & histology*