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Analysis of the Zuttiyeh fossil fragment

Research Achievements

Analysis of the Zuttiyeh fossil fragment

Trainee Sarah Freidline (in collaboration with NYCEP faculty Katerina Harvati and J-J Hublin) conducted a geometric, morphometric and multivariate statistical analysis of the Zuttiyeh fossil facial fragment from Israel. Its geographic position and age of over 250,000 years make it a crucial specimen in later human evolution. To better determine its taxonomic affinities, this study quantified its shape and compared it to other Middle to Late Pleistocene African and Eurasian hominins. Her results show that the frontal and zygomatic morphology of Zuttiyeh is most similar to Shanidar 1, a Neanderthal, and Jebel Irhoud 1, an early H. sapiens; however the shape differences between archaic hominins in this anatomical region are subtle. She concludes that Zuttiyeh exhibits a generalized frontal and zygomatic morphology possibly indicative of the population that gave rise to modern humans and Neanderthals. Neanderthals retained this generalized morphology while modern humans became more derived.