Inner ear morphology of the cioclovina early modern European calvaria from Romania


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January 2016


Objectives: The morphology of the human bony labyrinth is thought to preserve a strong phylogenetic signal and to be minimally, if at all, affected by postnatal processes. The form of the semicircular canals is considered a derived feature of Neanderthals and different from the modern human anatomy. Among other hominins, European Middle Pleistocene humans have been found to be most similar to Neanderthals. Early modern humans have been proposed to show a pattern that is distinct, but most similar to that of Holocene people. Here we examine the inner ear structures of the Cioclovina calvaria, one of the earliest reliably dated and relatively complete modern human crania from Europe, in the context of recent and fossil human variation. Materials and Methods: Bony labyrinths were virtually extracted from CT scans of recent Europeans and Cioclovina. Using univariate and multivariate methods, measurements of the semicircular canals were compared with published measurements of other fossil specimens. Results: Our results show that Cioclovina's inner ear morphology falls within the range of modern variation, with affinities to both Late Pleistocene modern humans and recent Europeans. Using discriminant functions, the sex of the Cioclovina specimen is estimated as male. Discussion: Results agree with previous work showing that Cioclovina exhibits fully modern cranial morphology.


Bony Labyrinth, Upper Paleolithic, Modern Humans

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American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 160, no. 1 (2016-01-25).