2D Enamel thickness in Early Pleistocene Homo antecessor (Atapuerca, Spain)

2D Enamel thickness in Early Pleistocene Homo antecessor (Atapuerca, Spain)
Journal 7th Annual ESHE Meeting
Authors Martín-Francés, Laura; Martinón-Torres, María; Martínez de Pinillos, Marina; García-Campos, Cecilia; Modesto-Mata, Mario; Bermúdez de Castro, José María
Volume PESHE 6
Year 2017
DOI 10.13140/RG.2.2.20374.65603
Teeth possess a strong genetic expression used for taxonomic and phylogenetic inferences in hominins. Despite being widely investigated, the taxonomic signal of enamel thickness in the genus Homo remains unclear due to the scarcity and preservation of the fossil remains. Genus Homo is known to possess thicker relative enamel compared to living African Great apes. Within the genus Homo, different trends in enamel thickness were observed between older and younger taxa as well as among geographic groups. In particular, molar tissue proportions have been useful to distinguish between Neanderthals and modern humans. However, little is known about the polarity of this feature. In this context the addition of new data will contribute to the discussion of this trait within the genus Homo. In this study we provide for the first time the characterization of the 2D enamel thickness in the Gran Dolina (TD6) molar sample. Early Pleistocene Homo antecessor, dated ca. 0.86 Ma, is defined by a unique mosaic of primitive traits of the Homo clade, and derived traits shared with Neanderthals and modern humans. The skeletal and dental remains have been associated to eight individuals [4]. In this study we calculate the 2D molar tissue proportions in H. antecessor to: i) characterize the molar enamel thickness in this population; ii) provide new insights about the polarity of the enamel thickness within the genus Homo; iii) assess how different is H. antecessor population in relation to Neanderthals and modern humans. We applied mCT imaging to Early Pleistocene H. antecessor molar collection (n=17). Following Olejniczak and colleagues methodology we calculated the relative enamel thickness and average enamel thickness, and compared the results with fossil hominins and modern humans. Our results indicate that the relative enamel thickness of H. antecessor molars is generally greater than in Neanderthals and closer to H. sapiens values, except for the upper first molar. The polarity of the enamel thickness in the genus Homo is discussed to the light of these results. Future studies in other Early Pleistocene hominins may shed further light on the evolutionary meaning of this feature.

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