Age at death of the Neanderthal child from Devil's Tower, Gibraltar and the implications for studies of general growth and development in Neanderthals

MC Dean, CB Stringer, TG Bromage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study combines traditional methods of assessing dental developmental status based upon modern human standards with new techniques based upon histological observations in order to reassess the age at death of the Gibraltar child from Devil's Tower. The results indicate that the most likely age of this individual at death was 3 years of age. This result is in agreement with an independent assessment of the age of the temporal bone of this specimen (Tillier, AM [1982] Z. Morphol. Anthropol. 73:125–148) and is concordant with dental developmental ages given for modern humans. Moreover, the fact that this specimen appears at the low end of the age scale for calcification stages in modern humans is also supportive of the findings of Legoux (Legoux, P [1970] Arch. Inst. Paleontol. Hum. Mem. 33:53–87) and Wolpoff (Wolpoff, MH [1979] Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 50:67–114) that dental eruption schedules in Neanderthals were also accelerated. If the cranial bones from Devil's Tower are associated with the dental material, as we believe, they indicate a remarkably precocious brain growth in this individual, which is consistent with what is known about general growth and development in Neanderthals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-309
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume70
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1986

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Dentition
  • Hominids
  • Perikymater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology

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