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

M. C. Dean, C. B. Stringer, Timothy 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. Antropol. 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
StatePublished - 1986

Fingerprint

Gibraltar
Neanderthals
Growth and Development
growth and development
death
Tooth
Tooth Eruption
Dental Materials
teeth
Temporal Bone
Appointments and Schedules
bones
Bone and Bones
Brain
calcification
Growth
brain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Anthropology

Cite this

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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. Antropol. 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.",
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