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. 2006 Nov 14;103(46):17196-201.
doi: 10.1073/pnas.0608443103. Epub 2006 Nov 3.

Early Modern Humans From the Pestera Muierii, Baia De Fier, Romania

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Free PMC article

Early Modern Humans From the Pestera Muierii, Baia De Fier, Romania

Andrei Soficaru et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

The early modern human remains from the Peştera Muierii, Romania have been directly dated to approximately 30,000 radiocarbon years before present (approximately 30 ka 14C BP) (approximately 35 ka cal BP) ("calendrical" age; based on CalPal 2005) and augment a small sample of securely dated, European, pre-28 ka 14C BP (approximately 32.5 ka cal BP) modern human remains. The Muierii fossils exhibit a suite of derived modern human features, including reduced maxillae with pronounced canine fossae, a narrow nasal aperture, small superciliary arches, an arched parietal curve, zygomatic arch above the auditory porous, laterally bulbous mastoid processes, narrow mandibular corpus, reduced anterior dentition, ventral-to-bisulcate scapular axillary border, and planoconcave tibial and fibular diaphyseal surfaces. However, these traits co-occur with contextually archaic and/or Neandertal features, including a moderately low frontal arc, a large occipital bun, a high coronoid process and asymmetrical mandibular notch, a more medial mandibular notch crest to condylar position, and a narrow scapular glenoid fossa. As with other European early modern humans, the mosaic of modern human and archaic/Neandertal features, relative to their potential Middle Paleolithic ancestral populations, indicates considerable Neandertal/modern human admixture. Moreover, the narrow scapular glenoid fossa suggests habitual movements at variance with the associated projectile technology. The reproductive and scapulohumeral functional inferences emphasize the subtle natures of behavioral contrasts between Neandertals and these early modern Europeans.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Figures

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
Lateral view of the Muierii 1 cranium. Given limited contact through the frontozygomatic suture, the facial angle is approximate, and the largely complete frontal processes of the maxillae have been covered with filler to stabilize the reconstruction. (Scale bar: centimeters.)
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.
Bivariate plot of interorbital breadth versus nasal aperture breadth. Open circles, Neandertals; open squares, “African” early modern humans; gray triangles, middle Upper Paleolithic Europeans; gray squares, early Upper Paleolithic Europeans; black square, Muierii 1.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.
Histograms of the linear residuals from the least squares regressions through the pooled comparative samples for mid-sagittal arc versus chord for the frontal (r2 = 0.829; n = 44), parietal (r2 = 0.888; n = 51), and occipital (r2 = 0.530; n = 36) bones. The horizontal lines represent the Muierii 1 residual values. ANOVA P values across the comparative samples are 0.006, 0.093, and 0.484, respectively.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.
Lateral view of the Muierii 2 left temporal bone. (Scale bar: millimeters/centimeters.)
Fig. 5.
Fig. 5.
Medial view of the Muierii 1 mandibular lateral corpus and ramus. (Scale bar: millimeters/centimeters.)
Fig. 6.
Fig. 6.
Lateral view of the Muierii 1 right scapula, taken in the plane of the glenoid fossa. Dorsal is left. The minor restoration of the ventral glenoid margin is based on both the glenoid margin contours and the underlying bone of the ventral surface; the estimation error should be <0.5 mm. (Scale bar: millimeters/centimeters.)

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