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The Morphology of Permanent Molars from the Paleolithic Layers of Denisova Cave

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2017.45.1.121-134

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Abstract

The article describes the morphology of two permanent molars from the Pleistocene layers of Denisova Cave, the Altai Mountains. Denisova 4 is an upper left third or second molar, and Denisova 8 is an upper left third molar. Both specimens were examined using the extended trait battery. Results indicate a high informative potential of dental traits for the analysis of group variation within the genus Homo. They support the view that Denisovans, or H. altaiensis, were a distinct group of hominins differing from both H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis not only genetically but morphologically as well. The distinctive dental features of Denisovans include extremely large dimensions and affi nities with Homo erectus of Sangiran and the Middle Pleistocene hominins of China such as Xujiayao. Based on the morphological analysis of Denisovan upper molars, it is proposed that the unidentifi ed part of the Denisovan genome may stem from Homo erectus. Dentally, Homo altaiensis is a very
conservative taxon.

About the Authors

A. V. Zubova
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation
Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia


T. A. Chikisheva
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation
Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia


M. V. Shunkov
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation
Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia


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For citation:


Zubova A.V., Chikisheva T.A., Shunkov M.V. The Morphology of Permanent Molars from the Paleolithic Layers of Denisova Cave. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2017;45(1):121-134. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2017.45.1.121-134

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