Monday, February 01, 2010

No, It Is Probably Not a "Chunky Gravettian Kid."

Research on the teeth of the Lagar Velho specimen has revealed evidence suggesting that Zilhao and Trinkaus were right in their initial assessment of the evolutionary placement of the specimen. Science Daily reports:
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.
Expect another dust-up.

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