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Early life of Neanderthals

Nava, Alessia, Lugli, Federico, Romandini, Matteo, Badino, Federica, Evans, David, Helbling, Angela H., Oxilia, Gregorio, Arrighi, Simona, Bortolini, Eugenio, Delpiano, Davide, and others. (2020) Early life of Neanderthals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, . p. 202011765. ISSN 0027-8424. (doi:10.1073/pnas.2011765117) (KAR id:83873)

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The early onset of weaning in modern humans has been linked to the high nutritional demand of brain development that is intimately connected with infant physiology and growth rate. In Neanderthals, ontogenetic patterns in early life are still debated, with some studies suggesting an accelerated development and others indicating only subtle differences to modern humans. Here we report the onset of weaning and rates of enamel growth using an unprecedented sample set of three late (~70-50 ka) Neanderthals and one Upper Paleolithic modern human from Northeastern-Italy via spatially-resolved chemical/isotopic analyses and histomorphometry of deciduous teeth. Our results reveal that the modern human nursing strategy, with onset of weaning at 5-6 months, was present among these Neanderthals. This evidence, combined with dental development akin to modern humans, highlights their similar metabolic constraints during early life and excludes late weaning as a factor contributing to Neanderthals' demise.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1073/pnas.2011765117
Projects: [UNSPECIFIED] Weaning Practices in Ancient Italy (WEAN-IT)
Uncontrolled keywords: Neanderthal ontogeny, nursing strategy, dental histology, spatially-resolved chemical analyses, life histories, Sr/Ca
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Q Science > QE Geology > QE515 Geochemistry
Q Science > QH Natural history
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Alessia Nava
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2020 11:13 UTC
Last Modified: 03 May 2021 23:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Nava, Alessia:
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