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Nature. 2015 Apr 9;520(7546):216-9. doi: 10.1038/nature14134. Epub 2015 Jan 28.

Levantine cranium from Manot Cave (Israel) foreshadows the first European modern humans.

Author information

1
1] The Dan David Laboratory for the Search and Study of Modern Humans, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, PO Box 39040, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel [2] The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History and National Research Center, Tel Aviv University, PO Box 39040, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel.
2
Archaeology Division, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, PO Box 653, Beer-Sheva 8410501, Israel.
3
Geological Survey of Israel, 30 Malkhe Israel Street, Jerusalem 95501, Israel.
4
Max Planck Society-Weizmann Institute Center for Integrative Archaeology and Anthropology, D-REAMS Radiocarbon Laboratory, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.
5
1] Max Planck Society-Weizmann Institute Center for Integrative Archaeology and Anthropology, D-REAMS Radiocarbon Laboratory, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel [2] Department of Anthropology and Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 11 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.
6
Department of Geography, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905, Israel.
7
Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel.
8
Department of Human Evolution, Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103, Leipzig, Germany.
9
Department of Anthropology, Columbia University, New York 10027, USA.
10
1] Department of Anatomy, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA [2] Department of Orthodontics, Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.
11
8 Dan Street, Modi'in 7173161, Israel.
12
Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Edmond J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.
13
The Dan David Laboratory for the Search and Study of Modern Humans, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, PO Box 39040, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel.
14
The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History and National Research Center, Tel Aviv University, PO Box 39040, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel.
15
Department of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6, Canada.
16
Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa, Haifa 3498838, Israel.
17
1] The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History and National Research Center, Tel Aviv University, PO Box 39040, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel [2] Department of Anatomy and Anthropology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, PO Box 39040, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel.
18
Department of Orthodontics, Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.
19
1] Department of Anthropology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 12-14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria [2] The Core Facility for Micro-Computed Tomography, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 12-14, A-1090, Vienna, Austria.
20
Israel Antiquities Authority, PO Box 586, Jerusalem 91004, Israel.

Abstract

A key event in human evolution is the expansion of modern humans of African origin across Eurasia between 60 and 40 thousand years (kyr) before present (bp), replacing all other forms of hominins. Owing to the scarcity of human fossils from this period, these ancestors of all present-day non-African modern populations remain largely enigmatic. Here we describe a partial calvaria, recently discovered at Manot Cave (Western Galilee, Israel) and dated to 54.7 ± 5.5 kyr bp (arithmetic mean ± 2 standard deviations) by uranium-thorium dating, that sheds light on this crucial event. The overall shape and discrete morphological features of the Manot 1 calvaria demonstrate that this partial skull is unequivocally modern. It is similar in shape to recent African skulls as well as to European skulls from the Upper Palaeolithic period, but different from most other early anatomically modern humans in the Levant. This suggests that the Manot people could be closely related to the first modern humans who later successfully colonized Europe. Thus, the anatomical features used to support the 'assimilation model' in Europe might not have been inherited from European Neanderthals, but rather from earlier Levantine populations. Moreover, at present, Manot 1 is the only modern human specimen to provide evidence that during the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic interface, both modern humans and Neanderthals contemporaneously inhabited the southern Levant, close in time to the likely interbreeding event with Neanderthals.

PMID:
25629628
DOI:
10.1038/nature14134
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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