Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

30,000-year-old child's teeth shed new light on human evolution

Date:
January 8, 2010
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
The teeth of a 30,000-year-old child are shedding new light on the evolution of modern humans, thanks to new research.

Virtual 3D reconstruction of four deciduous and one permanent teeth assessed for linear, surface, and volumetric tissue proportions.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Bristol

The teeth of a 30,000-year-old child are shedding new light on the evolution of modern humans, thanks to research from the University of Bristol published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The teeth are part of the remarkably complete remains of a child found in the Abrigo do Lagar Velho, Portugal and excavated in 1998-9 under the leadership of Professor João Zilhão of the University of Bristol. Classified as a modern human with Neanderthal ancestry, the child raises controversial questions about how extensively Neanderthals and modern human groups of African descent interbred when they came into contact in Europe.

'Early modern humans', whose anatomy is basically similar to that of the human race today, emerged over 50,000 years ago and it has long been the common perception that little has changed in human biology since then.

When considering the biology of late archaic humans such as the Neanderthals, it is thus common to compare them with living humans and largely ignore the biology of the early modern humans who were close in time to the Neanderthals.

With this in mind, an international team, including Professor Zilhão, reanalysed the dentition of the Lagar Velho child (all of its deciduous -- milk -- teeth and almost all of its permanent teeth) to see how they compared to the teeth of Neanderthals, later Pleistocene (12,000-year-old) humans and modern humans.

Employing a technique called micro-tomography which uses x-rays to create cross-sections of 3D-objects, the researchers investigated the relative stages of formation of the developing teeth and the proportions of crown enamel, dentin and pulp in the teeth.

They found that, for a given stage of development of the cheek teeth, the front teeth were relatively delayed in their degree of formation. Moreover, the front teeth had a greater volume of dentin and pulp but proportionally less enamel than the teeth of recent humans.

The teeth of the Lagar Velho child thus fit the pattern evident in the preceding Neanderthals, and contrast with the teeth of later Pleistocene (12,000-year-old) humans and living modern humans.

Professor Zilhão said: "This new analysis of the Lagar Velho child joins a growing body of information from other early modern human fossils found across Europe (in Mladeč in the Czech Republic, Peştera cu Oase and Peştera Muierii in Romania, and Les Rois in France) that shows these 'early modern humans' were 'modern' without being 'fully modern'. Human anatomical evolution continued after they lived 30,000 to 40,000 years ago."

The team was led by Priscilla Bayle (Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, France) and Roberto Macchiarelli (Université de Poitiers, France) and included Erik Trinkaus (Professor of Anthropology at Washington University, St.-Louis, Cidália Duarte (Câmara Municipal do Porto, Portugal), and Arnaud Mazurier (CRI-Biopôle-Poitiers, France).

 

 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Priscilla Bayle, Roberto Macchiarelli, Erik Trinkaus, Cidália Duarte, Arnaud Mazurier, and João Zilhão. Dental maturational sequence and dental tissue proportions in the early Upper Paleolithic child from Abrigo do Lagar Velho, Portugal. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0914202107

Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "30,000-year-old child's teeth shed new light on human evolution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100107114418.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2010, January 8). 30,000-year-old child's teeth shed new light on human evolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100107114418.htm
University of Bristol. "30,000-year-old child's teeth shed new light on human evolution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100107114418.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) — Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
 
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins