Midfacial Morphology and Neandertal-Modern Human Interbreeding.

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Ancient DNA from, Neandertal and modern human fossils, and comparative morphological analyses of them, reveal a complex history of interbreeding between these lineages and the introgression of Neandertal genes into modern human genomes. Despite substantial increases in our knowledge of these events, the timing and geographic location of hybridization events remain unclear. Six measures of facial size and shape, from regional samples of Neandertals and early modern humans, were used in a multivariate exploratory analysis to try to identify regions in which early modern human facial morphology was more similar to that of Neandertals, which might thus represent regions of greater introgression of Neandertal genes. The results of canonical variates analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis suggest important affinities in facial morphology between both Middle and Upper Paleolithic early modern humans of the Near East with Neandertals, highlighting the importance of this region for interbreeding between the two lineages.





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Churchill, Steven E, Kamryn Keys and Ann H Ross (2022). Midfacial Morphology and Neandertal-Modern Human Interbreeding. Biology, 11(8). p. 1163. 10.3390/biology11081163 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/25645.

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Steven E. Churchill

Professor in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology

I am a human paleontologist studying morphological and behavioral adaptation in the genus Homo. Through comparative functional-morphological analysis of human fossil remains, coupled with investigation of the archeological record of prehistoric human behavior, my students and I conduct research in the following inter-related areas:

1) The ecology, energetics and adaptive strategies of premodern members of the genus Homo (especially the Neandertals [Homo neanderthalensis] of Europe and western Asia and Middle Pleistocene archaic humans of Africa [variously attributed to H. heidelbergensis, H. rhodesiensis or H. helmei] ) and early members of our own species [H. sapiens] in Africa, the Near East and Europe.

2) Adaptive evolution during the emergence of the genus Homo, focusing on the functional morphology of Australopithecus sediba, H. naledi, and H. erectus.

3) The evolution of human subsistence strategies across the Middle and Late Pleistocene, with an emphasis on the nature of the hunting methods employed by various groups.

4) The evolution of subsistence technology, especially the origins of true long-range projectile weaponry.

5) The community ecology of humans and large-bodied carnivores in Pleistocene Europe and Africa.

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