Article ...

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Author:

Harvati, K

Title:

The Neanderthal taxonomic position: models of intra- and inter-specific craniofacial variation.

Journal:

J Hum Evol

Number:

1

Volume:

44

Year:

2003

Pages:

107-32

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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=Harvati2003a

Abstract:

The Neanderthal taxonomic position is a matter of wide disagreement among paleoanthropologists. Some workers consider this fossil human group to represent a different species, Homo neanderthalensis, while others see it as a subspecies of Homo sapiens. This study developed two models of morphological variation to be applied to a comparison between Neanderthals and modern humans: modern human populations provided a measure of intra-specific variation, while the species and subspecies of Pan provided measures of both intra- and inter-specific morphological differences. Although such an approach has been advocated strongly, it has not been systematically undertaken until recently. The techniques of geometric morphometrics were used to collect data in the form of three-dimensional coordinates of craniofacial landmarks. The data were processed using generalized procrustes analysis, and analyzed by an array of multivariate statistical methods, including principal components analysis, canonical variates analysis and Mahalanobis D(2). The morphological distances between Neanderthals and modern humans, and between Neanderthals and Late Paleolithic/early anatomically modern specimens, are consistently greater than the distances among recent human populations, and greater than the distances between the two chimpanzee species. Furthermore, no strong morphological similarities were found between Neanderthals and Late Paleolithic Europeans. This study does not find evidence for Neanderthal contribution to the evolution of modern Europeans. Results are consistent with the recognition of Neanderthals as a distinct species.
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