The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Teeth and handedness of Homo heidelbergensis from Sima de los Huesos site (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain)


1Paleoanthropology, IPHES. Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social. Tarragona, Spain, 2Area de Prehistoria, Universitat Rovira i Virgili. Tarragona, Spain., 3Paleobiología de Homínidos., Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre Evolución Humana. Burgos, Spain., 4Centro de Investigación sobre la Evolución y Comportamiento Humanos., UCM-ISCIII. Madrid, Spain, 5Paleontología., Facultad de Ciencias Geológicas. Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.

Thursday 3:30-3:45, Grand Ballroom II Add to calendar

Handedness in living humans is well-established with a high degree of manual specialization on the right side. Some have attempted to document handedness, in the fossil record, but it remains unclear where and when in human evolution right-handedness appeared ad became established in the modern 9:1 pattern.

Dental microwear analysis is a technique which provides information about the direction of action and handedness.

Our experimental work shows that these striations are the result of holding an object or materials between the anterior teeth and processing the items with a lithic tool. The orientation of the resulting cutmarks on dental enamel is different if the action was made by the right or left hand.

Analysis of striation patterns found on anterior teeth of Homo heidelbergensis sample from Sima de los Huesos (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain) reveals a consistent pattern of handedness. These results clearly demonstrate that at least 500,000 years ago, the Sima de los Huesos population was already right-handed.

Ecosocial behaviour of Sierra de Atapuerca (Spain) hominids during Quaternary II. (Comportamiento ecosocial de los homínidos de la Sierra de Atapuerca durante el Cuaternario II). Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (CGL2009-12703-C03-02) Government of Spain.

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