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Iulia Bădescu, M Anne Katzenberg, David P Watts, Daniel W Sellen
OBJECTIVES: Determining nutritional development in wild primates is difficult through observations because confirming dietary intake is challenging. Physiological measures are needed to determine the relative contributions of maternal milk and other foods at different ages, and time of weaning. We used fecal stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes (δ(13) C, δ(15) N) and fecal nitrogen concentrations (%N) from wild chimpanzees at Ngogo, Uganda, to derive physiological dietary indicators during the transition from total reliance on maternal milk to adult foods after weaning...
October 21, 2016: American Journal of Physical Anthropology
David W Frayer, Ronald J Clarke, Ivana Fiore, Robert J Blumenschine, Alejandro Pérez-Pérez, Laura M Martinez, Ferran Estebaranz, Ralph Holloway, Luca Bondioli
Labial striations on the anterior teeth have been documented in numerous European pre-Neandertal and Neandertal fossils and serve as evidence for handedness. OH-65, dated at 1.8 mya, shows a concentration of oblique striations on, especially, the left I(1) and right I(1), I(2) and C(1), which signal that it was right-handed. From these patterns we contend that OH-65 was habitually using the right hand, over the left, in manipulating objects during some kind of oral processing. In living humans right-handedness is generally correlated with brain lateralization, although the strength of the association is questioned by some...
November 2016: Journal of Human Evolution
Yohannes Haile-Selassie, Stephanie M Melillo, Timothy M Ryan, Naomi E Levin, Beverly Z Saylor, Alan Deino, Ronald Mundil, Gary Scott, Mulugeta Alene, Luis Gibert
Australopithecus afarensis is the best-known and most dimorphic species in the early hominin fossil record. Here, we present a comparative description of new fossil specimens of Au. afarensis from Nefuraytu, a 3.330-3.207 million-years-old fossil collection area in the Woranso-Mille study area, central Afar, Ethiopia. These specimens include NFR-VP-1/29, one of the most complete mandibles assigned to the species thus far and among the largest mandibles attributed to Au. afarensis, likely representing a male individual...
November 2016: Journal of Human Evolution
Travis Rayne Pickering, Jason L Heaton, Morris B Sutton, Ron J Clarke, Kathleen Kuman, Jess Hutton Senjem, C K Brain
We describe 14 hominin teeth and tooth fragments excavated recently from Swartkrans Cave (South Africa). The fossils derive from Members 1 (Lower Bank) and 3, from the Member 2/3 interface and from two deposits not yet assigned to member (the "Talus Cone Deposit" and the "Underground North Excavation" [UNE]) of the Swartkrans Formation, and include the first hominin fossil from the UNE, the two smallest Paranthropus robustus deciduous maxillary second molars in the entire hominin fossil record, and one of the smallest P...
November 2016: Journal of Human Evolution
Markus Bastir, Daniel García-Martínez, Nicole Torres-Tamayo, Juan Alberto Sanchis-Gimeno, Paul O'Higgins, Cristina Utrilla, Isabel Torres Sánchez, Francisco García Río
The human ribcage expands and contracts during respiration as a result of the interaction between the morphology of the ribs, the costo-vertebral articulations and respiratory muscles. Variations in these factors are said to produce differences in the kinematics of the upper thorax and the lower thorax, but the extent and nature of any such differences and their functional implications have not yet been quantified. Applying geometric morphometrics we measured 402 three-dimensional (3D) landmarks and semilandmarks of 3D models built from computed tomographic scans of thoraces of 20 healthy adult subjects in maximal forced inspiration (FI) and expiration (FE)...
October 19, 2016: Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology
Tomos Proffitt, Lydia V Luncz, Tiago Falótico, Eduardo B Ottoni, Ignacio de la Torre, Michael Haslam
Our understanding of the emergence of technology shapes how we view the origins of humanity. Sharp-edged stone flakes, struck from larger cores, are the primary evidence for the earliest stone technology. Here we show that wild bearded capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus) in Brazil deliberately break stones, unintentionally producing recurrent, conchoidally fractured, sharp-edged flakes and cores that have the characteristics and morphology of intentionally produced hominin tools. The production of archaeologically visible cores and flakes is therefore no longer unique to the human lineage, providing a comparative perspective on the emergence of lithic technology...
October 19, 2016: Nature
Javier Ruiz, Juan Luis Arsuaga
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
October 15, 2016: Journal of Human Evolution
William Hutchison, Raffaella Fusillo, David M Pyle, Tamsin A Mather, Jon D Blundy, Juliet Biggs, Gezahegn Yirgu, Benjamin E Cohen, Richard A Brooker, Dan N Barfod, Andrew T Calvert
The Ethiopian Rift Valley hosts the longest record of human co-existence with volcanoes on Earth, however, current understanding of the magnitude and timing of large explosive eruptions in this region is poor. Detailed records of volcanism are essential for interpreting the palaeoenvironments occupied by our hominin ancestors; and also for evaluating the volcanic hazards posed to the 10 million people currently living within this active rift zone. Here we use new geochronological evidence to suggest that a 200 km-long segment of rift experienced a major pulse of explosive volcanic activity between 320 and 170 ka...
October 18, 2016: Nature Communications
Nicholas J White
Relapse may have evolved in malaria as a mechanism to avoid suppression by more virulent species in mixed infections, thereby increasing transmission opportunities. Later evolution of long latency in Plasmodium vivax was a necessary adaptation as early hominins moved to colder areas with shorter mosquito breeding seasons. Genetic diversity was maintained through heterologous hypnozoite activation.
October 12, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Lauren Alpert Sugden, Sohini Ramachandran
Human population genomic studies have repeatedly observed a decrease in heterozygosity and an increase in linkage disequilibrium with geographic distance from Africa. While multiple demographic models can generate these patterns, many studies invoke the serial founder effect model, in which populations expand from a single origin and each new population's founders represent a subset of genetic variation in the previous population. The model assumes no admixture with archaic hominins, however, recent studies have identified loci in Homo sapiens bearing signatures of archaic introgression...
October 12, 2016: Current Opinion in Genetics & Development
Paige Madison
A fossilized skeleton discovered in 1856 presented naturalists with a unique challenge. The strange, human-looking bones of the first recognized Neanderthal confronted naturalists with a new type of object for which they had no readily available interpretive framework. This paper explores the techniques and approaches used to understand these bones in the years immediately following the discovery, in particular 1856-1864. Historians have previously suggested that interpretations and debates about Neanderthals hinged primarily on social, political and cultural ideologies...
September 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
I Campaña, A Pérez-González, A Benito-Calvo, J Rosell, R Blasco, J M Bermúdez de Castro, E Carbonell, J L Arsuaga
Gran Dolina is a cavity infilled by at least 25 m of Pleistocene sediments. This sequence contains the TD6 stratigraphic unit, whose records include around 170 hominin bones that have allowed the definition of a new species, Homo antecessor. This fossil accumulation was studied as a single assemblage and interpreted as a succession of several human home bases. We propose a complete stratigraphic context and sedimentological interpretation for TD6, analyzing the relationships between the sedimentary facies, the clasts and archaeo-palaeontological remains...
October 7, 2016: Scientific Reports
Paweł Stankiewicz
BACKGROUND: In contrast to Great Apes, who have 48 chromosomes, modern humans and likely Neandertals and Denisovans have and had, respectively, 46 chromosomes. The reduction in chromosome number was caused by the head-to-head fusion of two ancestral chromosomes to form human chromosome 2 (HSA2) and may have contributed to the reproductive barrier with Great Apes. RESULTS: Next generation sequencing and molecular clock analyses estimated that this fusion arose prior to our last common ancestor with Neandertal and Denisovan hominins ~ 0...
2016: Molecular Cytogenetics
Alastair J M Key
The human hand is unparalleled amongst primates in its ability to manipulate objects forcefully and dexterously. Previous research has predominantly sought to explain the evolution of these capabilities through an adaptive relationship between more modern human-like anatomical features in the upper limb and increased stone tool production and use proficiency. To date, however, we know little about the influence that other manipulatively demanding behaviors may have had upon the evolution of the human hand. The present study addresses one aspect of this deficiency by examining the recruitment of the distal phalanges during a range of manual transportation (i...
2016: PloS One
Jennifer F Parker, Philip J Hopley, Brian F Kuhn
The Buxton-Norlim Limeworks southwest of Taung, South Africa, is renowned for the discovery of the first Australopithecus africanus fossil, the 'Taung Child'. The hominin was recovered from a distinctive pink calcrete that contains an abundance of invertebrate ichnofauna belonging to the Coprinisphaera ichnofacies. Here we describe the first fossil bee's nest, attributed to the ichnogenus Celliforma, from the Plio-Pleistocene of Africa. Petrographic examination of a cell lining revealed the preservation of an intricate organic matrix lined with the calcitic casts of numerous plant trichomes-a nesting behaviour unique to the modern-day carder bees (Anthidiini)...
2016: PloS One
Cuibin Wang, Lingxia Zhao
OBJECTIVES: The present study investigated the distribution of perikymata on anterior teeth of Miocene Lufengpithecus lufengensis so as to broaden the comparative data of developmental variation within and among hominoids. We also compared perikymata-spacing pattern of Lufengpithecus lufengensis with hominins and extant African great apes to understand the implication of dental development. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 30 anterior teeth (including 6 I1, 10 I2, and 14 C) of Lufengpithecus lufengensis were examined using a scanning electron microscope and Keyence VHX-600EOS digital microscope to document the number and distribution of perikymata on their labial surfaces...
September 27, 2016: American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Jeffrey D Wall, Debora Yoshihara Caldeira Brandt
Modern humans evolved in Southern or Eastern Africa, and spread from there across the rest of the world. As they expanded across Africa and Eurasia, they encountered other hominin groups. The extent to which modern and 'archaic' human groups interbred is an area of active research, and while we know that modern humans interbred with Neanderthals and Denisovans, there is not yet agreement on how many admixture events there were or on how much Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA can be found in contemporary genomes...
September 20, 2016: Current Opinion in Genetics & Development
Jonathan G Wynn, Kaye E Reed, Matt Sponheimer, William H Kimbel, Zeresenay Alemseged, Zelalem K Bedaso, Christopher J Campisano
One approach to understanding the context of changes in hominin paleodiets is to examine the paleodiets and paleohabitats of contemporaneous mammalian taxa. Recent carbon isotopic studies suggest that the middle Pliocene was marked by a major shift in hominin diets, characterized by a significant increase in C4 foods in Australopithecus-grade species, including Australopithecus afarensis. To contextualize previous isotopic studies of A. afarensis, we employed stable isotopes to examine paleodiets of the mammalian fauna contemporaneous with A...
October 2016: Journal of Human Evolution
Amy E Shapiro, Vivek V Venkataraman, Nga Nguyen, Peter J Fashing
As the only extant graminivorous primate, gelada monkeys (Theropithecus gelada) offer unique insights into how hominins and other extinct primates with strong C4 isotopic signatures may have subsisted on graminoid-rich diets. Fossil Theropithecus species sharing a strong C4 signal (i.e., Theropithecus brumpti, Theropithecus darti, and Theropithecus oswaldi) have been reconstructed as predominantly graminivorous and potentially in ecological competition with contemporaneous hominins. However, inferring the breadth and variation of diet in these species (and therefore hominins) has proven problematic...
October 2016: Journal of Human Evolution
Frido Welker, Mateja Hajdinjak, Sahra Talamo, Klervia Jaouen, Michael Dannemann, Francine David, Michèle Julien, Matthias Meyer, Janet Kelso, Ian Barnes, Selina Brace, Pepijn Kamminga, Roman Fischer, Benedikt M Kessler, John R Stewart, Svante Pääbo, Matthew J Collins, Jean-Jacques Hublin
In Western Europe, the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition is associated with the disappearance of Neandertals and the spread of anatomically modern humans (AMHs). Current chronological, behavioral, and biological models of this transitional period hinge on the Châtelperronian technocomplex. At the site of the Grotte du Renne, Arcy-sur-Cure, morphological Neandertal specimens are not directly dated but are contextually associated with the Châtelperronian, which contains bone points and beads. The association between Neandertals and this "transitional" assemblage has been controversial because of the lack either of a direct hominin radiocarbon date or of molecular confirmation of the Neandertal affiliation...
October 4, 2016: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
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