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Publication Date

December 2008


Middle Paleolithic fossil human remains from the Sima de las Palomas in southeastern Iberia (dated to ≤43,000–40,000 calendar years before present) present a suite of derived Neandertal and/or retained ancestral morphological features in the mandibular symphysis, mandibular ramus, dental occlusal morphology, and distal hand phalanx. These traits are combined with variation in the mandibular corpus, discrete dental morphology, tooth root lengths, and anterior dental size that indicate a frequency difference with earlier Iberian and more northern European Neandertals. The Palomas Neandertals therefore confirm the late presence of Neandertals associated with the Iberian persistence of the Middle Paleolithic, but suggest microevolutionary processes and/or population contact with contemporaneous modern humans to the north.


Neanderthals, Paleolithic period, Shafts (Excavations), Europe, Spain, Murcia, Torre-Pacheco

Geographic Subject

Europe; Spain; Murcia; Torre-Pacheco

Document Type



Volume 105, Issue 52 6 p.





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