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Am J Phys Anthropol. 1996 Jan;99(1):103-18.

Relative dental development of Upper Pleistocene hominids compared to human population variation.

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1
Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque 87131, USA.

Abstract

The relative development of permanent teeth in samples of Neandertal/archaic Homo and Early Modern/Upper Paleolithic hominids is compared to the range of variability found in three recent human samples. Both fossil hominid samples are advanced in relative M2 and M3 development compared to white French-Canadians, but only the Neandertal/archaic Homo M3 sample is advanced when compared to black southern Africans. Both fossil hominid samples are delayed in relative I1 and P3 development compared to the recent human samples. Two hypotheses concerning the significance of the advanced M3 and M2 development found in both hominid groups and southern Africans compared to French-Canadians are discussed. The first postulates that the differences in relative molar development are due simply to variation in tooth/jaw size relationships. The second postulates that the relatively advanced M3 and M2 development found in the fossil hominids and southern Africans is a correlate of their potential for advanced skeletal maturation compared to French-Canadians and other European-derived populations. It appears that dental development patterns have continued to evolve from the Upper Pleistocene to present times, and that Neandertals and Early Moderns shared similar patterns of relative dental development.

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