CORDIS - Forschungsergebnisse der EU

Origins and Evolution of the Neanderthal Cranial Morphology


Der Schädel des Neandertalers in neuem Licht

Die Neandertaler, unsere nächsten ausgestorbenen Verwandten, sind wohl die meisterforschte aller ausgestorbenen Menschenarten. Das begründet sich vor allem durch den Umfang der Fossilbelege und die zeitliche Überschneidung mit dem modernen Menschen. Die Grundunterschiede zwischen der Anatomie des Neandertalers und der des modernen Menschen sind hinreichend belegt. Eine vollständige Definition der Schädelmorphologie der ersten Neandertaler sensu stricto (marine Isotopenstufe 7-6, spätes Mittelpaläolithikum) mittels modernsten Verfahren wurde jedoch noch nicht vorgenommen. Das EU-finanzierte Projekt NEANDER-TALe wird die Schädelreste an der Fundstelle Abri Suard (Charente, Frankreich) untersuchen. Insbesondere möchte es mittels virtuellen Bildgebungsverfahren Tempo und Modus der Entstehung der typischen Schädelmerkmale des Neandertalers feststellen.


Neandertals inhabited Eurasia for around 200 thousand years (between c 250ky and 50 ky ago), in very different ecosystems, in a period with changing climates. They are probably the most studied extinct human group due to the richness of its fossil record, their chronological overlap with modern humans, and because the admixture between both groups has important implications regarding modern human genetic diversity. Their overall anatomy significantly differs from that of modern humans, and concretely the cranium shows a distinct morphology that help to characterise this group. Nevertheless, the way that this human lineage evolved and the origin of this specific morphology is a matter of intense debate in the field of Human Evolution. In this sense, the cranial morphology of the first Neandertals sensu stricto (Marine Isotopic Stage (MIS) 7-6, late MP) has barely been described using state-of-the-art techniques.
Centered on the study of the Abri Suard site (Charente, France) cranial remains, this project aims to study the first Neandertal representatives from a key region. Their cranial morphology will be analysed using cutting edge Virtual Imaging Techniques (VIT). This will allow us, for the very first time, to determine the tempo and mode of apparition of the typical Neanderthal cranial features.
The fellow will receive training on multi-disciplinary state-of-the-art Paleoanthropological and Virtual Imaging Techniques. In turn, he will transfer his expertise in physical and forensic anthropology, as well as in Prehistoric Western Europe human groups. He will expand the analyses VITs to periods not previously explored by the host. In addition, he will foster new collaborations with academic (secondments) and non-academic partners (museums, heritage associations). Altogether, this project guarantees the two-way transfer of knowledge and represents a solid investment of funds from which the fellow, the host institutions and the European society will largely benefit.


€ 184 707,84
33000 Bordeaux

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Nouvelle-Aquitaine Aquitaine Gironde
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
€ 184 707,84