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Tracing the Ontogenetic Evolution of Diet and Behavior in Neandertals and Anatomically Modern Humans in the Franco-Cantabrian Region. An Integrative study of 3D Tooth Wear Patterns

Project description

Our ancestors' mouths have a lot to tell us about their societies

Neanderthals and Homo sapiens share a common ancestor originated in Africa. However, both evolved as separate species for thousands of years. By the time Homo sapiens left Africa to explore Eurasia, Neanderthals had already been living in the continent for more than 200,000 years. A growing body of evidence indicates that they met and even interbred. Comparative studies are thus of interest on numerous levels. The EU-funded 3DFOSSILDIET project is comparing the growth and development of both human species through their mouths. Namely, dietary differences and behavioural complexity via studies of dental wear, that allows inferring the biomechanics of the masticatory system, will be investigated. Insights will provide clues about social dynamics and our evolutionary processes as a species.

Objective

3DFOSSILDIET (Tracing the Ontogenetic Evolution of Diet and Behavior in Neandertals and Anatomically Modern Humans in the Franco-Cantabrian Region. An Integrative study of 3D Tooth Wear Patterns), aims to reconstruct both dietary patterns and biomechanics of the masticatory apparatus during ontogeny (somatic development and growth of an organism throughout its lifetime, from conception to adulthood, a span known as the Life History) in Neandertals and Anatomically Modern Humans in order to trace trophic variation and behavioral complexity, and the following questions will be addressed:
1) How did adult individuals care for sub-adults?
2) How did sub-adults become independent individuals?
3) How were relationships expressed within the groups?
4) Could social patterns reflect our evolutionary success?
This project will implement the use of recently developed virtual methods (Dental Microwear Texture Analysis and Dental Topographic Analysis) for the analysis of both micro- and macro- dental wear patterns in both Neandertals and Anatomically Modern Humans as a proxy to infer biomechanics of the mastication (diet) and general use of the mouth (behavior) along the Life History of both human species.
3DFOSSILDIET is interdisciplinary, bringing together expertise in microscopy, bioarchaeology, isotopic analyses, and paleoanthropology through an integrative methodology to document dental wear. The results will address how and if behavioral changes were reflected across the human groups who lived during Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transition at the Franco-Cantabrian Region. Furthermore, the advance of the study of dental wear will provide technological framework for the study of surface modifications of both biological and archaeological materials.

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Coordinator

UNIVERSIDAD DE CANTABRIA
Net EU contribution
€ 245 732,16
Address
Avenida de los castros s/n
39005 Santander
Spain

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Region
Noroeste Cantabria Cantabria
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00

Partners (1)