|Title||Earliest evidence of modern human life history in North African early Homo sapiens.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2007|
|Authors||Smith, TM, Tafforeau, P, Reid, DJ, Grün, R, Eggins, S, Boutakiout, M, Hublin, J-J|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Date Published||2007 Apr 10|
|Keywords||africa, development, Late Pleistocene, Middle Pleistocene, modern, Morocco, North Africa, teeth|
Recent developmental studies demonstrate that early fossil hominins possessed shorter growth periods than living humans, implying disparate life histories. Analyses of incremental features in teeth provide an accurate means of assessing the age at death of developing dentitions, facilitating direct comparisons with fossil and modern humans. It is currently unknown when and where the prolonged modern human developmental condition originated. Here, an application of x-ray synchrotron microtomography reveals that an early Homo sapiens juvenile from Morocco dated at 160,000 years before present displays an equivalent degree of tooth development to modern European children at the same age. Crown formation times in the juvenile's macrodont dentition are higher than modern human mean values, whereas root development is accelerated relative to modern humans but is less than living apes and some fossil hominins. The juvenile from Jebel Irhoud is currently the oldest-known member of Homo with a developmental pattern (degree of eruption, developmental stage, and crown formation time) that is more similar to modern H. sapiens than to earlier members of Homo. This study also underscores the continuing importance of North Africa for understanding the origins of human anatomical and behavioral modernity. Corresponding biological and cultural changes may have appeared relatively late in the course of human evolution.
|Alternate Journal||Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.|
Earliest evidence of modern human life history in North African early Homo sapiens.
For years, I've worked on their bones. Now I'm working on their genes. Read more about the science studying these ancient people.
From a finger bone of an ancient human came the record of a completely unexpected population. My lab is working on the science of the Denisova genome.
The advent of agriculture caused natural selection to speed up greatly in humans. We're uncovering some of the ways that populations have rapidly changed during the last 10,000 years.