Dental Evidence from the Aterian Human Populations of Morocco

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Dental Evidence from the Aterian Human Populations of Morocco

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Title: Dental Evidence from the Aterian Human Populations of Morocco
Author: Smith, Tanya; Verna, Christine; Bailey, Shara; Olejniczak, Anthony; Sbihi-Alaoui, Fatima Z.; Zouak, Mehdi; Hublin, Jean-Jacques

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Citation: Hublin, Jean-Jacques, Christine Verna, Shara Bailey, Tanya Smith, Anthony Olejniczak, Fatima Z. Sbihi-Alaoui, and Mehdi Zouak. 2012. Dental evidence from the Aterian human populations of Morocco. In Modern origins: A North African perspective, ed. Jean-Jacques Hublin and Shannon P. McPherron, 189-204. New York: Springer-Verlag.
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Abstract: The Aterian fossil hominins represent one of the most abundant series of human remains associated with Middle Stone Age/Middle Paleolithic assemblages in Africa. Their dates have been revised and they are now mostly assigned to a period between 90 and 35 ka. Although the Aterian human fossil record is exclusively Moroccan, Aterian assemblages are found throughout a vast geographical area extending to the Western Desert of Egypt. Their makers represent populations that were located close to the main gate to Eurasia and that immediately predated the last out-of-Africa exodus. In this chapter, we present an analysis of the Aterian dental remains. The sizes of the Aterian dentitions are particularly spectacular, especially for the post-canine dentition. This massiveness is reminiscent of the Middle Paleolithic modern humans from the Near East, but also of the early Homo sapiens in North and East Africa. Morphologically, this megadontia is expressed in the development of mass-additive traits. The Aterian dentition also displays relatively thick enamel. These features help to set some of the traits observed in Neandertals in perspective and highlight their primitive or derived nature. The Aterian morphological pattern is also important to consider when interpreting the dental morphology of the first modern humans in Eurasia.
Published Version: doi:10.1007/978-94-007-2929-2_13
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