Advertisement

Human Evolution

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 91–96 | Cite as

Some comments on the case for Early Pleistocene hominids in South-Eastern Spain

  • P. V. Tobias
Article

Abstract

Several sites in the Orce Basin have revealed evidence of the presence of hominids in the Early Pleistocene. These remains are dated to over 1.0 million years, while they may be as old as 1.6 million years.

The skeletal remains from Venta Micena in the Orce Basin show a molecular “fossil protein” pattern which aligns them with hominids, but not with equids. This is supported by the anatomical evidence of the two humeral shafts from theEstrato Blanco in the Venta Micena deposits. The biparieto-occipital partial calvaria shows some unusual features if VM-0 is a hominid specimen. the presence of a prominent crest on the internal surface of the occipital fragment adjacent to the point lambda is decidedly unusual for a modern human calvaria. Moreover, theimpressions gyrorum, in the region where the superior parietal lobule of the cerebral hemisphere abutted against the calvaria, point to a bipartite superior parietal lobule with anterior and posterior moieties which, on the endocast, are clearly separated by a depression that represents a sulcus. These morphological traits are rather puzzling if VM-0 is a hominid, and at first they led me to hesitate over the anatomical identification of VM-0. However, the studies of Campillo (1989) and of Campillo and Barcelo (1986) suggest that the features of the fragment VM-0 are compatible with those of a hominid. Because I believe that we do not possess sufficient information on the variability of the endocranial and ectocranial manifestations of the sagittal suture and of its variance with age of the individual, in different hominid species and different equid species, I have not adduced this pattern as evidence in support or rebuttal of the hominid status of VM-0.

Key words

Hominids early Europeans Iberia 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Borja, C. and Garcia-Olivares, E., 1995.Detection and characterisation of proteins in fossils from Venta Micena and Cueva Victoria by immunological methods. International Conference on Human Palaeontology (Orce, Granada), 26.Google Scholar
  2. Borja, C., Garcia-Pacheco, J.M., Ramirez-Lopez, J.P. and Garcia-Olivares, E., 1993. Cuantification y caracterization de la albumina fosil del craneo de Orce. In: J. Gibert, D. Campillo, E. Garcia Olivares, A. Malgosa, F. Martinez and B. Martinez (eds.).Projecto Orce-Cueva Victoria (1988–1992). Presencia humana en el pleistocene infrior de Granada y Murcia, pp. 415–423. Orce (Granada): Museo de Prehistoria Josep Gibert.Google Scholar
  3. Campillo, D., 1989. Estudio del hombre de Orce. In: J. Gibert, D. Campillo and E. Garcia Olivares (eds.).Los restos humanos de Orce y Cueva Victoria, pp. 341–370. Sabadell: Instituto Paleontologia M. Crusafont.Google Scholar
  4. Campillo, D., 1993. Estudio del hombre de Orce. In: J. Gibert, D. Campilo and E. Garcia Olivares (eds.).Los restos humanos de Orce y Cueva Victoria, pp. 341–370. Sabadell: Instituto Paleontologia M. Crusafont.Google Scholar
  5. Campillo, D. and Barcelo, J.A., 1989. Morphometric study of the internal surface of the squama occipitalis. In: J. Gibert, D. Campillo and E. Garcia Olivares (eds.).Los restos humanos de Orce y Cueva Victoria, pp. 109–186. Sabadell: Instituto Paleontologia M. Crusafont.Google Scholar
  6. Gibert, J. (ed.), 1993.Projecto Orce — Cueva Victoria (1988–1992): Presencia Humana en el Pleistoceno Inferior de Granada y Murcia Orce, Granada: Museo de Prehistoria Josep Gibert.Google Scholar
  7. Gibert, J., Arribas, A., Martinez, B., Albadalejo, S., Gaete, R., Gibert, L., Penas, C. and Torrico, R., 1993. Sintesis cronoestratigrafica del Pleistoceno inferior de la region de Orce. In: J. Gibert, D. Campillo, E. Garcia Olivares, A. Malgosa, F. Martinez and B. Martinez, (eds.)Projecto Orce-Cueva Victoria (1988–1992). Presencia humana en el Pleistoceno inferior de Granada y Murcia, pp. 107–112 Orce (Granada): Museo de Prehistoria Josep Gibert.Google Scholar
  8. Gibert, J. and Palmquist, P., 1995. Fractal analysis of the Orce skull sutures.J. Hum. Evol., 28: 561–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gibert-Clols, J., Valero, D.C. and Olivares, E.G. (eds.), 1989.Los Restos Humanos de Orce y Cueva Victoria Barcelona, Instituto Palaeontologia M. Crusafont.Google Scholar
  10. Jimenez, C. and Gibert, J., 1993. Estudio comparado de los “cut marks” de Venta Micena. In Gibert, J. (ed.).Projecto Orce-Cueva Victoria (1988–1992):Presencia Humana en el Pleistoceno Inferior de Granada y Murcia. Orce, Granada: Museo de Prehistoria Josep Gibert, pp. 307–339.Google Scholar
  11. Lowenstein, J., 1995. Immunological reactions in fossil bones from Orce.Congresso Internacional de Paleontologia Humana. Orce: Granada.Google Scholar
  12. Roe, D.A., 1995.The Orce Basin (Andalucia, Spain) and the initial palaeolithic of Europe.Oxford J. Archaeology, 14 (1): 1–12.Google Scholar
  13. Tobias, P.V., 1997. (in press) Were the lower and middle Pleistocene Europeans capable of spoken language? In:Hominids and their Environment in the European Lower and Middle Pleistocene (ed. J. Gibert). Proceedings of International Congress of Human Palaeontology, Orce, Spain, September 1995.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Institute for the Study of Man 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. V. Tobias
    • 1
  1. 1.Palaeo-anthropology Research Group, Department of Anatomical SciencesUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations