Cioclovina (Romania): affinities of an early modern European


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January 2007


The current modern human origins debate centers on the possibility and degree of admixture between indigenous archaic humans and modern human populations migrating out of Africa into Europe and Asia in the Late Pleistocene. Evidence for such admixture must be sought in the earliest fossil record of modern humans outside Africa, as it is those populations that would have encountered, and possibly interbred with, archaic hominins. In the case of Europe, the recent application of direct dating techniques has eliminated several specimens from the Upper Paleolithic fossil record, while confirming early ages for others. Among these earliest reliably dated specimens is the Cioclovina calvaria from Romania. This individual is of highest importance for the understanding of modern human origins in Europe, and has recently been proposed to represent a Neanderthal-modern human hybrid. We present a short description and a three-dimensional (3D) geometric morphometric analysis of the Cioclovina specimen using a large geographic sample of recent humans, Neanderthals and Middle and Late Pleistocene fossil hominins from Europe, Africa, and the Levant, in order to establish its phenetic affinities and to evaluate its morphology for evidence of admixture between Neanderthals and early modern Europeans. Our results show Cioclovina to be entirely modern in its cranial shape, and do not support the hypothesis that it represents a hybrid.


Neanderthals, Upper Paleolithic, Early Modern Humans, Admixture, Modern Human Origins, Hybrids, Geometric Morphometrics

Document Type



Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 53, no. 6 (2007).