Buccal striations on fossil human anterior teeth: evidence of handedness in the middle and early Upper Pleistocene

JoséMaría Bermúdez de Castro, Timothy Bromage, Yolanda Fernández Jalvo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The presence of gross preferentially distributed striations on the buccal surfaces of permanent anterior teeth of Neandertal individuals from La Quina, Hortus and Angles-sur-l'Anglin (France), Saint Brais (Switzerland) and Shanidar (Iraq) has led some authors to hypothesize that Neandertals used stone tools to cut something held between the anterior teeth, inadvertently scratching the enamel at the same time. We also observe these striations on the anterior teeth of Middle Pleistocene hominids from Atapuerca/Ibeas, Spain, on the incisors of La Quina 5, and on one isolated I1 from Cova Negra, Spain. Macro- and microscopic studies of these striations, together with those striations produced in an experimental study suggest that scratching of these hominid anterior teeth was indeed the result of ante-mortem tool use, producing striations indicating right- (normally) or left-handedness (rarely). These results provide indirect evidence for lateralization of the brain of Middle and early Upper Pleistocene hominids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-412
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1988

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handedness
striation
tooth
teeth
Hominidae
fossils
Spain
Pleistocene
fossil
hominid
Switzerland
Iraq
evidence
brain
France
enamel
tool use
experimental study

Keywords

  • dental modification
  • handedness
  • Pleistocene hominid behaviour
  • striations/cutmarks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Buccal striations on fossil human anterior teeth : evidence of handedness in the middle and early Upper Pleistocene. / Bermúdez de Castro, JoséMaría; Bromage, Timothy; Jalvo, Yolanda Fernández.

In: Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 17, No. 4, 1988, p. 403-412.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bermúdez de Castro, JoséMaría ; Bromage, Timothy ; Jalvo, Yolanda Fernández. / Buccal striations on fossil human anterior teeth : evidence of handedness in the middle and early Upper Pleistocene. In: Journal of Human Evolution. 1988 ; Vol. 17, No. 4. pp. 403-412.
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