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Robusticity of Hand Phalanges: Relevance to the Origin of the Altai Neanderthals

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2017.45.3.126-135

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Abstract

Cross-sectional geometry of middle phalanges of hand digits 2–4 in fi ve European and Asian Neanderthals (La Ferrassie 1, Kiik-Koba 1, Okladnikov 2 and 5, and Chagyrskaya 16-3-12) and fi ve Cro-Magnons (Kostenki 14, Telmanovskaya TII 175 and TII 173, Sungir 1, and Abri Pataud 26227) was estimated by means of microtomography. Both Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons reveal a wide range of individual variability in the inner robusticity indices. Both the most robust and the most gracile variants in Neanderthals were recorded in the Altai (Okladnikov and Chagyrskaya caves, respectively), confi rming previous observations about the high morphological diversity among Neanderthals in that area and the presence of at least two morphological variants among them. In European Upper Paleolithic Homo sapiens, inner phalangeal robusticity is generally higher than in Neanderthals, attaining medullary stenosis in the Kostenki 14 male. Neither sex nor age nor even mechanical stress appear to have affected robusticity. Hyperrobust variants were recognized in both Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals of supposedly hybrid origin. Genetic studies suggest that Kostenki 14 belonged to an ancestral European metapopulation, which had absorbed some Neanderthal admixture. The ancestors of the Altai Neanderthals, on the other hand, included not only Denisovans but also early anatomically modern humans before their migration to Siberia. Extreme phalangeal robusticity in Middle and Upper Paleolithic Eurasians, then, might be a legacy of early anatomically modern humans.

About the Authors

M. B. Mednikova
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Archaeology, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia

Dm. Ulyanova 19, Moscow, 117036, Russia



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


S. V. Markin
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:


Mednikova M.B., Shunkov M.V., Markin S.V. Robusticity of Hand Phalanges: Relevance to the Origin of the Altai Neanderthals. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2017;45(3):126-135. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2017.45.3.126-135

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