Saturday, October 23, 2010

Neanderthal children were supersized

Jennifer Viegas - Neanderthal youngsters that made it to the "terrible twos" were large, sturdy and toothy, a study of the remains of a Neanderthal infant suggests. The child almost survived to such an age, but instead died when it was just one and a half years old.

The remains of this infant — a lower jaw and teeth unearthed in a Belgian cave — are the youngest Neanderthal ever found in northwest Europe, according to a study that will appear in the Journal of Human Evolution.

Since the remains of two adults were also previously discovered in the cave, the fossil collection may represent a Neanderthal family.

If the trio said "cheese" for a family portrait, their smiles would have been hard to miss, since Neanderthal front teeth were larger than those for modern humans.

When the infant died, "he already possessed Neanderthal characteristics, notably a strong mandibular corpus (toothy part of the lower jaw)," lead author Isabelle Crevecoeur told Discovery News. ...

via Neanderthal children were supersized - Technology & science - Science -

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