Frontal bone virtual reconstruction and geometric morphometric analysis of the mid-pleistocene hominin knm-og 45500 (Olorgesailie, kenya)

Tommaso Mori, Antonio Profico, Hugo Reyes-Centeno, Katerina Harvati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

KNM-OG 45500 is a hominin fossil composed of parts of a frontal bone, left temporal bone, and cranial vault pieces. Since its discovery along the Olorgesailie Formation (Kenya) in 2003, it has been associated with the Homo erectus hypodigm. The specimen, derived from a geological context dated to ca. 900 Ka BP, has been described as a very small individual of probable female sex. However, despite its status as an important hominin specimen, it has not been used in a quantitative comparative framework because of its fragmentary condition. Here, we undertake a virtual reconstruction of the better-preserved fragment, the frontal bone. We additionally apply geometric morphometric analyses, using a geographically diverse fossil and modern human sample, in order to investigate the morphological affinities of KNM-OG 45500. Our results show that the frontal shape of KNM-OG 45500 exhibits similarities with Early Pleistocene fossils from Eurasia and Africa that are assigned to H. erectus sensu lato (s.l.). Its size, on the other hand, is notably smaller than most other Homo erectus fossils and modern humans and similar to the specimens from Dmanisi (Georgia) and to Homo naledi. Taken together, our analyses of the frontal bone suggest a taxonomic attribution of KNM-OG 45500 to H. erectus s.l. and extend even further the range of size variability associated with this taxon around 900 Ka BP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-72
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Anthropological Sciences
Volume98
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the following institutions and colleagues for access to fossil comparative material: Richard Potts and colleagues at the Smithsonian Institution, as well as Fredrick Manthi, Timothy Gichunge, and the members of the Department of Earth Science, National Museums of Kenya for access to the KNM-OG 45500 surface scan and CT scans of KNM-ER 3733 and KNM-ER 3883; Gen Suwa, the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ARCCH), and the National Museum of Ethiopia for providing the Daka calvarium (BOU-VP-2/66) external mesh reconstruction; Sabine Eggers for access to CT scan from the Department of Anthropology of the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna; Giselle Garcia and Eric Delson, American Museum of Natural History; Monica Zavattaro and Jacopo Moggi-Cecchi for access to the CT scans from the Anthropological Collection at the Museo di Storia Naturale dell’ Università di Firenze; Antoine Balzeau, Martin Friess, and Dominique Grimaud-Hervé for access to the CT scans from the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris. The Skhūl V fossil scan was downloaded from the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, while the H. naledi (DH1 & DH3) and A. sediba (MH1) scans were downloaded from the MorphoSource database, Duke University (media number: M7300-8170). We thank Marlijn Noback for providing access to scans of the modern human comparative sample, as well as Yonatan Sahle for facilitating access to the Daka CT scan and for helpful discussion on this project. Finally, we thank Hannes Rath-mann for his help in the figures’ production. This work was funded in part by the German Research Foundation (DFG-INST-37/706-1 FUGG and DFG-FOR-2237: “Words, Bones, Genes, Tools: Tracking Linguistic, Cultural, and Biological Trajectories of the Human Past”).

Funding Information:
We thank the following institutions and colleagues for access to fossil comparative material: Richard Potts and colleagues at the Smithsonian Institution, as well as Fredrick Manthi, Timo-thy Gichunge, and the members of the Department of Earth Science, National Museums of Kenya for access to the KNM-OG 45500 surface scan and CT scans of KNM-ER 3733 and KNM-ER 3883; Gen Suwa, the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ARCCH), and the National Museum of Ethiopia for providing the Daka calvarium (BOU-VP-2/66) external mesh reconstruction; Sabine Eggers for access to CT scan from the Department of Anthropology of the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna; Giselle Garcia and Eric Delson, American Museum of Natural History; Monica Zavattaro and Jacopo Moggi-Cecchi for access to the CT scans from the Anthropological Collection at the Museo di Storia Naturale dell? Universit? di Firenze; Antoine Balzeau, Martin Friess, and Dominique Grimaud-Herv? for access to the CT scans from the Mus?um national d?Histoire naturelle, Paris. The Skh?l V fossil scan was downloaded from the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, while the H. naledi (DH1 & DH3) and A. sediba (MH1) scans were downloaded from the MorphoSource database, Duke University (media number: M7300-8170). We thank Marlijn Noback for providing access to scans of the modern human comparative sample, as well as Yonatan Sahle for facilitating access to the Daka CT scan and for helpful discussion on this project. Finally, we thank Hannes Rath-mann for his help in the figures? production. This work was funded in part by the German Research Foundation (DFG-INST-37/706-1 FUGG and DFG-FOR-2237: ?Words, Bones, Genes, Tools: Tracking Linguistic, Cultural, and Biological Trajectories of the Human Past?).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Istituto Italiano di Antropologia. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Frontal bone
  • Geometric morphometrics
  • Homo erectus
  • Shape analysis
  • Virtual anthropology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology

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