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The Earliest European Human Peopling After the Recent Discoveries: Early Neanderthals or Different Lineages?

Authors: Francesco Mallegni,

Publish Date: 2011
Volume: , Issue:, Pages: 55-66
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This report is a review of the European fossil record during the Pleistocene. We investigate the possibility of an anagenetic evolution of Neandertals starting from the most ancient hominins found at Ceprano, Gran Dolina, etc. It appears that the contribution of the Dmanisi population to later Europeans is very unlikely. We focus on the metric and morphological features of the oldest human fossil in Europe: the cranium from Ceprano. Among the characters observed in Ceprano, a few are also seen in more recent European H. heidelbergensis fossils (especially in Petralona) and many in African H. heidelbergensis fossils (especially in Bodo and Kabwe). We then consider the hypothesis that Ceprano could be ancestral to African H. heidelbergensis but not to European members of this taxon. A cladistic analysis seems to confirm this view. Lastly, in European H. heidelbergensis, we observe a continuity in characters that become more numerous approaching the beginning of the Late Pleistocene. These characters are typical of Homo neanderthalensis following the “Accretion-Model” hypothesis.



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