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http://palaeo-electronica.org/content/fc-1 Benton et al. 2015
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The oldest Neanderthal fossils are just under 0.2 Ma from Biache St. Vaast (France) and Ehringsdorf (Germany; Klein, 1999). As these dates postdate our marine timescale (Gradstein et al., 2012), we use the radiometric and faunal dates provided in the primary literature instead.
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For the soft maximum split within H. sapiens, we would suggest the widespread occurrences of H. erectus outside Africa over 1 Ma (Klein, 1999). In the case of central Asia, there appears to have been populations of H. erectus nearly 1.8 Ma (Lordkipanidze et al., 2007). Despite occurrences of the genus Homo throughout Asia and Africa by around 1 Ma, no evidence for Neanderthals or anatomically modern humans from this time is yet known (Klein, 1999).
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The Biache Saint cranial vaults are widely accepted as definitively examples of Homo neanderthalensis, and so by definition part of the neanderthalensis-sapiens clade (Klein, 1999). Anatomical apomorphies shared with the early and classic Neanderthals are: the pattern and development of the frontal sinus; the development of the supraorbital torus; a postero-superior depression of the parietal bone corresponding to a prelambdatic depression; the alignment of the zygomatic process with the external auditory meatus; a coronally orientated tympanic plate; non alignment of the digastric groove with the base of the styloid process and the stylomastoid foramen; the pattern and dimensions of the semicircular canals (Guipert et al. 2011).
Klein, R.G. 1999. The Human Career: Human Biological and Cultural Origins, 2nd ed. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Guipert, G., Lumley, M.-S. de, Tuffreau, A., and Mafart, B. 2011. A late Middle Pleistocene hominid: Biache-Saint-Vaast2, North France. Comptes Rendus Palevol, 10:21-33.
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