Journal article

The Neanderthal in the karst: First dating, morphometric, and paleogenetic data on the fossil skeleton from Altamura (Italy)

Martina Lari, Fabio Di Vincenzo, Andrea Borsato, Silvia Ghirotto, Mario Micheli, Carlotta Balsamo, Carmine Collina, Gianluca De Bellis, Silvia Frisia, Giacomo Giacobini, Elena Gigli, John C Hellstrom, Antonella Lannino, Alessandra Modi, Alessandro Pietrelli, Elena Pilli, Antonio Profico, Oscar Ramirez, Ermanno Rizzi, Stefania Vai Show all



In 1993, a fossil hominin skeleton was discovered in the karst caves of Lamalunga, near Altamura, in southern Italy. Despite the fact that this specimen represents one of the most extraordinary hominin specimens ever found in Europe, for the last two decades our knowledge of it has been based purely on the documented on-site observations. Recently, the retrieval from the cave of a fragment of bone (part of the right scapula) allowed the first dating of the individual, the quantitative analysis of a diagnostic morphological feature, and a preliminary paleogenetic characterization of this hominin skeleton from Altamura. Overall, the results concur in indicating that it belongs to the hypodigm ..

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Awarded by Italian Ministry of Universities (MIUR)

Awarded by MINECO of Spain

Awarded by Italian MIUR

Funding Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the Direzione Regionale, the Soprintendenza Archeologica della Puglia, the municipality of Altamura, and the speleologists of the C.A.R.S. (particularly Giovanni Ragone, Nino Reale, and Francesco Del Vecchio). The authors are also grateful to Lee Berger, Jose Miguel Carretero, Tea Jashashvili, Stephany Potze, Erik Trinkaus, Milford Wolpoff and, particularly, Steven E. Churchill, for kindly providing comparative samples and discussions on scapular morphology. Our thanks also go to Paolo Ragazzini for the photographic documentation. This study was supported in part by the Italian Ministry of Universities (MIUR), projects PRIN 2008 (2008TE2B8S_002) and PRIN 2010-2011 (2010EL8TXP_003), attributed to GB and DC. The paleoanthropological and morphometric parts of this research were supported by resources from the Sapienza University of Rome (GM). CLF is supported by a BFU2012-34157 grant from the MINECO of Spain. ER is funded by RBFR126B8I_003 e RBFR08U07M_003 grants from Italian MIUR.