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Origins and Evolution of the Neanderthal Cranial Morphology

Descrizione del progetto

Un nuovo sguardo al cranio dell’uomo di Neanderthal

I nostri parenti umani estinti più prossimi, i Neanderthal, sono probabilmente i più studiati tra tutti i gruppi umani estinti. Ciò è dovuto principalmente alle prove fossili e al fatto che si siano sovrapposti all’uomo moderno. Sebbene sia ampiamente documentato il fatto che l’anatomia generale dei Neanderthal è diversa da quella dell’uomo moderno, la morfologia cranica dei primi Neanderthal sensu stricto (stadi isotopici marini 7-6, tardo MP) non è stata completamente descritta utilizzando tecniche allo stato dell’arte. Il progetto NEANDER-TALe, finanziato dall’UE, studierà i resti cranici del sito di Abri Suard (Charente, Francia). In particolare, utilizzerà tecniche di imaging virtuale per identificare il tempo e la modalità di comparsa delle caratteristiche craniche tipiche dell’uomo di Neanderthal.


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.


Contribution nette de l'UE
€ 184 707,84
33000 Bordeaux

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Nouvelle-Aquitaine Aquitaine Gironde
Tipo di attività
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Costo totale
€ 184 707,84