The deciduous dentition of Homo naledi: A comparative study

Shara Bailey, Juliet K. Brophy, Jacopo Moggi-Cecchi, Lucas K. Delezene

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    In 2013, 2014 new hominin remains were uncovered in the Dinaledi chamber of the Rising Star cave system in South Africa. In 2015 Berger and colleagues identified these remains as belonging to a new species Homo naledi (Berger et al., 2015). Subsequent comparative studies of the skull, postcrania and permanent dentition have supported this taxonomic affiliation (Harcourt-Smith et al., 2015; Kivell et al., 2015; Irish et al., 2018). The deciduous teeth can offer unique insights into hominin evolution. Due to their early onset and rapid development their morphology is thought to be under stronger genetic control and less influenced by environment than are the permanent teeth. In this study we compared the H. naledi deciduous teeth from the 2013–2014 excavations to samples representing much of the hominin clade including Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus africanus, Paranthropus boisei, Paranthropus robustus, early Homo, Homo antecessor, Homo erectus s.l., Homo floresiensis, Middle Pleistocene Homo, Homo neanderthalensis, early Homo sapiens and recent H. sapiens from Sub-Saharan Africa. By making such a broad morphological comparison, we aimed to contextualize the Dinaledi hominins and to further assess the validity of their taxonomic assignment. Our analysis of the deciduous teeth revealed a unique combination of features that mirror (but also expand) that found in the permanent teeth. This mosaic includes an asymmetrical lower canine with a distal tubercle, an upper first molar with a large hypocone and epicrista associated with a mesial cuspule, a molarized lower first molar resembling Paranthropus, and upper and lower second molars that resemble later Homo in their lack of accessory cusps. The unique combination of deciduous dental characters supports previous studies assigning H. naledi to a new species, although its phylogenetic position vis-à-vis other Homo species remains ambiguous.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number102655
    JournalJournal of Human Evolution
    Volume136
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

    Fingerprint

    dentition
    Homo
    tooth
    comparative study
    teeth
    chamber
    lack
    new species
    cave system
    skull
    excavation
    Pleistocene
    phylogenetics
    Sub-Saharan Africa
    caves
    South Africa
    dogs
    phylogeny

    Keywords

    • Dental morphology
    • Dinaledi
    • Metrics
    • Pleistocene Homo
    • Southern Africa

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Anthropology

    Cite this

    Bailey, S., Brophy, J. K., Moggi-Cecchi, J., & Delezene, L. K. (2019). The deciduous dentition of Homo naledi: A comparative study. Journal of Human Evolution, 136, [102655]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2019.102655

    The deciduous dentition of Homo naledi : A comparative study. / Bailey, Shara; Brophy, Juliet K.; Moggi-Cecchi, Jacopo; Delezene, Lucas K.

    In: Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 136, 102655, 01.11.2019.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Bailey, Shara ; Brophy, Juliet K. ; Moggi-Cecchi, Jacopo ; Delezene, Lucas K. / The deciduous dentition of Homo naledi : A comparative study. In: Journal of Human Evolution. 2019 ; Vol. 136.
    @article{fd54540f75374acba4ce8a5775f3ad70,
    title = "The deciduous dentition of Homo naledi: A comparative study",
    abstract = "In 2013, 2014 new hominin remains were uncovered in the Dinaledi chamber of the Rising Star cave system in South Africa. In 2015 Berger and colleagues identified these remains as belonging to a new species Homo naledi (Berger et al., 2015). Subsequent comparative studies of the skull, postcrania and permanent dentition have supported this taxonomic affiliation (Harcourt-Smith et al., 2015; Kivell et al., 2015; Irish et al., 2018). The deciduous teeth can offer unique insights into hominin evolution. Due to their early onset and rapid development their morphology is thought to be under stronger genetic control and less influenced by environment than are the permanent teeth. In this study we compared the H. naledi deciduous teeth from the 2013–2014 excavations to samples representing much of the hominin clade including Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus africanus, Paranthropus boisei, Paranthropus robustus, early Homo, Homo antecessor, Homo erectus s.l., Homo floresiensis, Middle Pleistocene Homo, Homo neanderthalensis, early Homo sapiens and recent H. sapiens from Sub-Saharan Africa. By making such a broad morphological comparison, we aimed to contextualize the Dinaledi hominins and to further assess the validity of their taxonomic assignment. Our analysis of the deciduous teeth revealed a unique combination of features that mirror (but also expand) that found in the permanent teeth. This mosaic includes an asymmetrical lower canine with a distal tubercle, an upper first molar with a large hypocone and epicrista associated with a mesial cuspule, a molarized lower first molar resembling Paranthropus, and upper and lower second molars that resemble later Homo in their lack of accessory cusps. The unique combination of deciduous dental characters supports previous studies assigning H. naledi to a new species, although its phylogenetic position vis-{\`a}-vis other Homo species remains ambiguous.",
    keywords = "Dental morphology, Dinaledi, Metrics, Pleistocene Homo, Southern Africa",
    author = "Shara Bailey and Brophy, {Juliet K.} and Jacopo Moggi-Cecchi and Delezene, {Lucas K.}",
    year = "2019",
    month = "11",
    day = "1",
    doi = "10.1016/j.jhevol.2019.102655",
    language = "English (US)",
    volume = "136",
    journal = "Journal of Human Evolution",
    issn = "0047-2484",
    publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",

    }

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - The deciduous dentition of Homo naledi

    T2 - A comparative study

    AU - Bailey, Shara

    AU - Brophy, Juliet K.

    AU - Moggi-Cecchi, Jacopo

    AU - Delezene, Lucas K.

    PY - 2019/11/1

    Y1 - 2019/11/1

    N2 - In 2013, 2014 new hominin remains were uncovered in the Dinaledi chamber of the Rising Star cave system in South Africa. In 2015 Berger and colleagues identified these remains as belonging to a new species Homo naledi (Berger et al., 2015). Subsequent comparative studies of the skull, postcrania and permanent dentition have supported this taxonomic affiliation (Harcourt-Smith et al., 2015; Kivell et al., 2015; Irish et al., 2018). The deciduous teeth can offer unique insights into hominin evolution. Due to their early onset and rapid development their morphology is thought to be under stronger genetic control and less influenced by environment than are the permanent teeth. In this study we compared the H. naledi deciduous teeth from the 2013–2014 excavations to samples representing much of the hominin clade including Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus africanus, Paranthropus boisei, Paranthropus robustus, early Homo, Homo antecessor, Homo erectus s.l., Homo floresiensis, Middle Pleistocene Homo, Homo neanderthalensis, early Homo sapiens and recent H. sapiens from Sub-Saharan Africa. By making such a broad morphological comparison, we aimed to contextualize the Dinaledi hominins and to further assess the validity of their taxonomic assignment. Our analysis of the deciduous teeth revealed a unique combination of features that mirror (but also expand) that found in the permanent teeth. This mosaic includes an asymmetrical lower canine with a distal tubercle, an upper first molar with a large hypocone and epicrista associated with a mesial cuspule, a molarized lower first molar resembling Paranthropus, and upper and lower second molars that resemble later Homo in their lack of accessory cusps. The unique combination of deciduous dental characters supports previous studies assigning H. naledi to a new species, although its phylogenetic position vis-à-vis other Homo species remains ambiguous.

    AB - In 2013, 2014 new hominin remains were uncovered in the Dinaledi chamber of the Rising Star cave system in South Africa. In 2015 Berger and colleagues identified these remains as belonging to a new species Homo naledi (Berger et al., 2015). Subsequent comparative studies of the skull, postcrania and permanent dentition have supported this taxonomic affiliation (Harcourt-Smith et al., 2015; Kivell et al., 2015; Irish et al., 2018). The deciduous teeth can offer unique insights into hominin evolution. Due to their early onset and rapid development their morphology is thought to be under stronger genetic control and less influenced by environment than are the permanent teeth. In this study we compared the H. naledi deciduous teeth from the 2013–2014 excavations to samples representing much of the hominin clade including Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus africanus, Paranthropus boisei, Paranthropus robustus, early Homo, Homo antecessor, Homo erectus s.l., Homo floresiensis, Middle Pleistocene Homo, Homo neanderthalensis, early Homo sapiens and recent H. sapiens from Sub-Saharan Africa. By making such a broad morphological comparison, we aimed to contextualize the Dinaledi hominins and to further assess the validity of their taxonomic assignment. Our analysis of the deciduous teeth revealed a unique combination of features that mirror (but also expand) that found in the permanent teeth. This mosaic includes an asymmetrical lower canine with a distal tubercle, an upper first molar with a large hypocone and epicrista associated with a mesial cuspule, a molarized lower first molar resembling Paranthropus, and upper and lower second molars that resemble later Homo in their lack of accessory cusps. The unique combination of deciduous dental characters supports previous studies assigning H. naledi to a new species, although its phylogenetic position vis-à-vis other Homo species remains ambiguous.

    KW - Dental morphology

    KW - Dinaledi

    KW - Metrics

    KW - Pleistocene Homo

    KW - Southern Africa

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85072521128&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85072521128&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1016/j.jhevol.2019.102655

    DO - 10.1016/j.jhevol.2019.102655

    M3 - Article

    VL - 136

    JO - Journal of Human Evolution

    JF - Journal of Human Evolution

    SN - 0047-2484

    M1 - 102655

    ER -