The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Long Bone Growth Trajectories in Late Pleistocene Homo


1Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, 2Department of Community Health, Wright State University

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The evolution of the human ontogenetic pattern continues to be a compelling research topic in paleoanthropology. Here, we have examined long bone growth in a series of Late Pleistocene subadults and compared their growth trajectories to those of subadults from three diverse recent modern human populations. We hypothesized that growth trajectories in the Late Pleistocene subadults would be accelerated compared to those of the recent modern human subadults. The diaphyseal lengths of the humerus, radius, femur and tibia were recorded in 80 subadults (age 0-6) from the Spitalfields (Western/Northern European), Luís Lopes (Southern European), and Hamann-Todd Collections (African-American and European-American). Measurements from six Late Pleistocene individuals (Neanderthals Dederiyeh 1 and Roc de Marsal, and anatomically modern Lagar Velho, Skhul 1, Grotte des Enfants 1 and 2) were collected from the literature. These individuals were selected because of the preservation of the postcrania as well as dentition that could reliably age the subadults. Preliminary analysis of the long bones studied indicates that the Late Pleistocene subadults exhibit differing growth trajectories relative to the recent comparative samples, though rates of growth differ slightly between the recent groups as well. Interestingly, the upper and lower limbs also show differences in growth rates. These preliminary results indicate that further testing of subadult postcranial remains in Late Pleistocene fossils and recent modern human subadults would be beneficial to the greater field of evolutionary growth and development.

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