A Neanderthal lower molar from Stajnia Cave, Poland


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The primary aim of this study was to conduct a taxonomic assessment of the second of three isolated human teeth found in the Stajnia Cave (north of the Carpathians, Poland) in 2008. The specimen was located near a human tooth (S5000), which was identified by Urbanowski et al. (2010) as a Neanderthal permanent upper molar. Both of these teeth were excavated from the D2 layer, which belongs to the D stratigraphic complex comprising the archaeological assemblage associated with the Micoquian tradition. An Ursus spelaeus bone and Mammuthus primigenius tooth that were also excavated from the D2 layer were dated to >49,000 years BP (by AMS 14C) and 52.9 ka BP (by U-Th), respectively. The sediment overlying stratigraphic complex D was dated to 45.9 ka BP by the OSL method. The S4300 tooth is a lower first or second permanent molar belonging to an individual other than that who once possessed the S5000 tooth. The S4300 tooth exhibits a combination of traits typical of Neanderthal lower molars, including a mid-trigonid crest, large anterior fovea, taurodontism and subvertical grooves on the interproximal face, indicating that this tooth belonged to a Neanderthal individual. The S4300 tooth from Stajnia Cave is one of the oldest human remains found in Poland.

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