In 1986-87 three human remains were unearthed from macro-unit II of San Bernardino Cave (Berici Hills, Veneto, Italy), a deposit containing a late Mousterian lithic assemblage. The human remains (a distal phalanx, a lower right third molar and a lower right second deciduous incisor) do not show diagnostic morphological features that could be used to determine whether they were from Homo neanderthalensis or Homo sapiens. Despite being small in size overall, and thus more similar to recent Homo sapiens, they were attributed to Neandertals, primarily because they were found in Mousterian layers. We carried out a taxonomical reassessment of the lower right third molar (LRM3; San Bernardino 4) using digital morphometric analysis of the root, ancient DNA analysis, carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses and direct AMS radiocarbon dating of dentine collagen. Mithocondrial DNA analysis and root morphology show that the molar belongs to a modern human and not to a Neandertal. 14C dating of the molar attributes it to the end of the Middle Ages (1420-1480 cal AD, 2 sigma). Carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses suggest that the individual in question had a diet similar to that of Medieval Italians. These results show that the molar, as well as the other two human remains, belong to recent Homo sapiens and were introduced in the Mousterian levels post-depositionally.

A reassessment of the presumed Neandertal human remains from San Bernardino Cave, Italy

PERESANI, Marco;
2014

Abstract

In 1986-87 three human remains were unearthed from macro-unit II of San Bernardino Cave (Berici Hills, Veneto, Italy), a deposit containing a late Mousterian lithic assemblage. The human remains (a distal phalanx, a lower right third molar and a lower right second deciduous incisor) do not show diagnostic morphological features that could be used to determine whether they were from Homo neanderthalensis or Homo sapiens. Despite being small in size overall, and thus more similar to recent Homo sapiens, they were attributed to Neandertals, primarily because they were found in Mousterian layers. We carried out a taxonomical reassessment of the lower right third molar (LRM3; San Bernardino 4) using digital morphometric analysis of the root, ancient DNA analysis, carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses and direct AMS radiocarbon dating of dentine collagen. Mithocondrial DNA analysis and root morphology show that the molar belongs to a modern human and not to a Neandertal. 14C dating of the molar attributes it to the end of the Middle Ages (1420-1480 cal AD, 2 sigma). Carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses suggest that the individual in question had a diet similar to that of Medieval Italians. These results show that the molar, as well as the other two human remains, belong to recent Homo sapiens and were introduced in the Mousterian levels post-depositionally.
2014
Stefano, Benazzi; Peresani, Marco; Sahra, Talamo; Qiaomei, Fu; Marcello A., Mannino; Michael P., Richards; Jean Jacques, Hublin
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/1862113
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