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Early Modern Humans from the Peştera Muierii, Baia de Fier, Romania

Andrei Soficaru, Adrian Doboş and Erik Trinkaus
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 103, No. 46 (Nov. 14, 2006), pp. 17196-17201
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30052409
Page Count: 6
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Early Modern Humans from the Peştera Muierii, Baia de Fier, Romania
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Abstract

The early modern human remains from the Peltera Muierii, Romania have been directly dated to ≈30,000 radiocarbon years before present (≈30 ka $^{14}C$ BP) (≈35 ka cal BP) ("calendrical" age; based on CalPal 2005) and augment a small sample of securely dated, European, pre-28 ka $^{14}C$ BP (≈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 supercili3ry 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.

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