March 28, 2012

Aurignacian jaws are modern (Homo sapiens)

The adscription of the Aurignacian techno-culture in Europe to Homo sapiens (alias 'anatomically modern humans', or 'AMH' or 'modern humans' for short) was only indirectly supported, mostly by remains from Palestine (Ahmarian or Ahmiran culture, part of the wider 'Aurignacoid' complex of West Eurasia). 

Recently a jaw from England and some teeth from Italy were also alleged to support very early presence of our species in Europe. However the conclusions were controversial and the findings had, like Oase 1, no direct relation with Aurignacian or other Aurignacoid cultures (in fact the Italian teeth belonged to the Uluzzian, what is a very different debate).

Now however a couple of lower jaws from France seem to finally settle the matter regarding the authorship of Aurignacian:


Abstract

There is a dearth of diagnostic human remains securely associated with the Early Aurignacian of western Europe, despite the presence of similarly aged early modern human remains from further east. One small and fragmentary sample of such remains consists of the two partial immature mandibles plus teeth from the Early Aurignacian of La Quina-Aval, Charente, France. The La Quina-Aval 4 mandible exhibits a prominent anterior symphyseal tuber symphyseos on a vertical symphysis and a narrow anterior dental arcade, both features of early modern humans. The dental remains from La Quina-Aval 1 to 4 (a dm1, 2 dm2, a P4 and a P4) are unexceptional in size and present occlusal configurations that combine early modern human features with a few retained ancestral ones. Securely dated to ∼33 ka 14C BP (∼38 ka cal BP), these remains serve to confirm the association of early modern humans with the Early Aurignacian in western Europe.

Found via Neanderfollia[cat].

2 comments:

  1. For the moment, it seems that's the best explanation. Another possibility is that Early Aurignacian (is it the same as Proto-Aurignacian) was created by neanderthals and later adopted by modern human immigrants from the east.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "is it the same as Proto-Aurignacian"?

      I don't think so: I think it's equivalent to Aurignacian I, i.e. "full Aurignacian".

      "Another possibility is that Early Aurignacian (is it the same as Proto-Aurignacian) was created by neanderthals and later adopted by modern human immigrants from the east".

      We have no reason to believe so and it is a very unlikely hypothesis on light of the available evidence.

      Delete

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