The first Neanderthal tooth found North of the Carpathian Mountains
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An upper second permanent molar from a human was found alongside numerous tools of the Micoquian tradition and was excavated in Stajnia Cave, which is located over 100 km North of the Carpathian Mountains in southern Poland. The age of these finds has been established within a time-span of late Saalian to early Weichselian, most likely to OIS 5c or 5a, according to the palaeontological, geological, archaeological and absolute dating of the layer from which they were obtained. An examination of the morphology of the human molar indicates that this tooth exhibits many traits frequently occurring in Neanderthal upper molars. Although the occurrence of derived Neanderthal traits in the Stajnia molar cannot be firmly established because of degradation of its cusps, the presence of the above-mentioned features allows the assertion that this tooth belonged to a Neanderthal. The age of the Stajnia tooth and the archaeological context of this find also indicate that this molar is of Neanderthal origin.
KeywordsHomo neanderthalensis Molar Micoquian Poland
This research was supported by the University of Szczecin and University of Wrocław. We thank C. Stringer for his help, R. Kruszynski, T. Compton, E. Trinkaus for their helpful comments, and S. Pääbo and J. Krause for providing the Neanderthal-specific mtDNA primers and valuable suggestions. We thank the site owners—the family of Lasecki and the “Elementarz” Foundation for supporting the research.
Conflict of interest statement
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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