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Marquez S.,SUNY Downstate Medical Center | Pagano A.S.,Mount Sinai School of Medicine | Pagano A.S.,New York University | Delson E.,New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology NYCEP | And 4 more authors.
Anatomical Record | Year: 2014

Neanderthals are one of the most intensely studied groups of extinct humans, as aspects of their phylogeny and functional morphology remain controversial. They have long been described as cold adapted but recent analyses of their nasal anatomy suggest that traits formerly considered adaptations may be the result of genetic drift. This study performs quantitative and qualitative analysis of aspects of the nasal complex (NC) in Neanderthals and other later Pleistocene fossils from Europe and Africa. A geographically diverse sample of modern human crania was used to establish an anatomical baseline for populations inhabiting cold and tropical climates. Nasofrontal angle, piriform aperture dimensions, and relative maxillary sinus volume were analyzed along with qualitative features of the piriform aperture rim. Results indicate that Neanderthals and other later Pleistocene Homo possessed NC's that align them with tropical modern humans. Thus comparison of Neanderthal nasal morphology with that of modern humans from cold climates may not be appropriate as differences in overall craniofacial architecture may constrain the narrowing of the piriform apertures in Neanderthals. They retain primitively long, low crania, large maxillary sinuses, and large piriform aperture area similar to mid-Pleistocene Homo specimens such as Petralona 1 and Kabwe 1. Adaptation to cold climate may have necessitated other adaptations such as bony medial projections at the piriform aperture rim and, potentially, midfacial prognathism. Nasal complex components of the upper respiratory tract remain a critical but poorly understood area that may yet offer novel insight into one of the greatest continuing controversies in paleoanthropology. Anat Rec, 297:2121-2137, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Rosenberger A.L.,Brooklyn College | Rosenberger A.L.,City University of New York | Klukkert Z.S.,New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology NYCEP | Klukkert Z.S.,City University of New York | And 3 more authors.
American Journal of Primatology | Year: 2013

A mandible of the Hispaniolan primate Antillothrix bernensis, virtually complete and providing the only definitive evidence of the species' lower dentition, has been discovered in a submerged Dominican Republic cave. The new specimen enables a more certain assessment of the species' phylogenetic position than previously possible. It belongs to the same individual as the nearly complete young adult cranium and postrcranial elements found earlier at the same site. Of the extinct Caribbean platyrrhines, the jaw compares well with partial mandibles representing Xenothrix mcgregori, from Jamaica. Among living platyrrhines, it closely resembles Callicebus and Aotus, as documented in a biometric analysis employing three-dimensional geometric morphometrics of Callicebus, Aotus, Pithecia, Chiropotes, Cacajao, Cebus, and Saimiri. The jaw falls within the morphological variability of Callicebus and Aotus in this three-dimensional analysis, is otherwise most similar to Pithecia, and is distinct from cebines. Lower molars resemble the Haitian primate, Insulacebus, a genus known by a full dentition and gnathic fragments with a pattern of derived features also present in Xenothrix. Considering the available craniodental and postcranial evidence, we conclude that Antillothrix is not properly classified as cebid but rather is best grouped with Pitheciidae, an idea long central to discussions of the phylogenetic affinities of the Greater Antillean primates. Since Antillothrix and Insulacebus are more primitive anatomically than the highly modified Xenothrix, it is tempting to surmise that the origins of the latter involved a vicariance or dispersal event via Hispaniola isolating it on Jamaica. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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