Date of Award

5-2017

Culminating Project Type

Thesis

Department

Anthropology

College

College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Matthew Tornow

Second Advisor

Silvana Condemi

Third Advisor

Joseph Melcher

Fourth Advisor

Heiko L. Schoenfuss

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Abstract

The Neanderthals lived in small communities of hunters and gatherers and were present in a large geographical area extending from Portugal to Siberia. This expansive range implies that Neanderthals lived in a great diversity of climatic conditions. Paleoanthropologists agree, in their observations, that there are differences between European and Middle Eastern Neanderthals, and that this variation covers an east to west cline. Research based on mtDNA simulation has defined three subgroups, a Western subgroup, a Southern subgroup and an Eastern subgroup. This study of Neanderthal biodistance, based on non-metric features of the dentition, aims to address the dental character variability among Neanderthals. This point would permit to determine the presence of Neanderthal subgroups, and, if so, the existence of an east to west cline. From the dental data and the subgroup distribution, the Neanderthal population emigration can be estimated. Results of this research indicate that there is variation in the frequencies of Neanderthal dental characters, the molars showing the most variation, and that this variation can be used to identify four Neanderthal subgroups. This variation is consistent with an east to west, clinal distribution of Neanderthals, and provides evidence of movement patterns within this species.

Comments/Acknowledgements

I would like to express my gratefulness and thanks to my main advisor and committee chair, Professor Matthew Tornow, Department of Anthropology SCSU, for his great advising, support, help and patience during this research as well as his for the careful revision of the text and his valuable comments. I am grateful to Dr. Silvana Condemi of the University of Aix-Marseille and Director of Research of CNRS (France), who belongs to my committee and beyond her professional expertise, I could get access to numerous specimens of the fossils necessary for this project. My thanks are also directed to the two other members of my committee, Professor Joseph Melcher, Chairman, Department of Psychology SCSU and Professor Heiko L. Schoenfuss, Department of Biology SCSU, who helped me with the lecturer and advices of my thesis. A big thank to Randy Kolb, Emeritus and Adjunct Faculty in Graduate Studies and Director of the Statistical Consulting and Research Center of SCSU, who helped me find the right statistical package to proceed in the exploitation of my data. My thanks are also to Professor Marylène Patou-Mathis, Director of Research of CNRS (France) and responsible of archaeozoology Department at the National Museum of Natural History (Paris), who help me make my first steps in this project and recommended me for my first internship in Paris. I am also grateful to Dr. Jean-Luc Voisin at the National Museum of Natural History, Paris and Professor David W. Frayer, Professor Emeritus, Biological Anthropology of the University of Kansas for their comments and advices; Dr. J. Radovčić at the Croatian Natural History Museum, Zagreb, who gave access to the images of Krapina. I must also mention, Professor Andre Debenath, Professor and Director of Research at the University of Rabat and Professor Emeritus at the University of Perpignan for the advice and pictures he made available. Professor Debenath, was the first highly qualified expert who introduced me to the world of the Neanderthal and gave me a personal tour of the Neanderthal cave of La Chaise. Regretfully he passed away last year and I regret very much not to being able to thank him directly for his thoughtful attention. I thank Mrs. Debenath for her hospitality and cookies and I express my deep sympathy for her lost. Finally, I would like to thank my wife Professor Maureen O’Brien, Department of History SCSU, who supported me with efficiency by controlling my unreadable English and Elizabeth O’Brien for her help in the diagram design.

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