A Neandertal foot phalanx from the Galería de las Estatuas site (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain)



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Pablos, Adrián and Arsuaga, Juan Luis and Gómez‐Olivencia, Asier (2019) A Neandertal foot phalanx from the Galería de las Estatuas site (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain). American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 168 (1). pp. 222-228. ISSN 0002-9483, ESSN: 1096-8644

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Official URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ajpa.23729


The Galería de las Estatuas site (GE), a new Mousterian site at the Sierra de Atapuerca site complex (Spain), has revealed a Late Pleistocene detrital sequence with at least five lithostratigraphic units. These units have yielded evidence of Mousterian occupations with sporadic carnivore activity, and have provided datings of 80–112 ka BP using single‐grain optically stimulated luminescence. This places the sequence at the end of MIS5 and beginning of the MIS4. We described here a complete adult human distal foot phalanx (GE‐1573) recovered during the 2017 field season in the interface between lithostratigraphic units 3 and 4 (107–112 ka BP) in the GE‐I test pit.

Materials and method
This phalanx (GE‐1573) probably corresponds to the fifth toe from the right side due to the medial deviation of the distal tuberosity. We compared the metric variables of this phalanx to several fossil and recent Homo samples.

Neandertals display foot phalanges that are broader and more robust than those of recent humans. Despite the scarcity of well‐identified distal phalanges in the Homo fossil record, the GE‐1573 phalanx is broad, long and robust when compared with recent and Upper Paleolithic modern humans.

These traits, which align the GE‐1573 foot phalanx with the Neandertal morphology, are consistent with the stratigraphic context, likely corresponding to one of the oldest Late Neandertals found inland on the Iberian Peninsula. Additionally, it provides the first evidence of a Neandertal human fossil in a stratigraphic context in the Sierra de Atapuerca.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Foot phalanx, Homo neanderthalensis, Late Pleistocene, postcrania, robusticity
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
ID Code:50663
Deposited On:10 Jan 2019 18:49
Last Modified:06 Mar 2019 09:53

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