Advertisement

Azokh Cave Hominin Remains

  • Tania King
  • Tim Compton
  • Antonio Rosas
  • Peter Andrews
  • Levon Yepiskoposyan
  • Lena Asryan
Chapter
Part of the Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology book series (VERT)

Abstract

Hominin remains have been discovered at Azokh Cave from three different entrance passageways during the early and present phases of excavation. Evidence for three different species of hominin – Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neanderthalensis, and Homo sapiens – has been found at Azokh Cave. A fragment of hominin mandible was found in Azokh 1 in 1968. Previous studies, published in Russian and summarized here, suggest this specimen is most similar to the Ehringsdorf (adult) specimen which may now be considered as an early Neanderthal. An original assessment of a replica of the mandible carried out here indicates the specimen is similar to European Middle Pleistocene hominins, and we assign it tentatively to Homo heidelbergenis. A complete permanent first upper left molar tooth was found higher in the Azokh 1 sequence by the present excavation team. Preliminary description and metric analyses of the tooth indicate the specimen is typical of Neanderthal first upper molars and is most similar to Neanderthal specimens from Krapina, Croatia. A partial skeleton and two teeth of modern Homo sapiens have been found in Azokh 2 by the current excavation team, and evidence suggests death was accidental. Eight modern Homo sapiens teeth, discovered in Azokh 5 and thought to represent a minimum of three individuals (a child, a juvenile and an adolescent), are described here.

Keywords

Homo heidelbergensis Neanderthals Homo sapiens Teeth Mandible 

Резюме

В данной главе рассматриваются останки гоминид, обнаруженные в трех различных входных камерах Азохской пещеры в течение предшествующего и современного этапов раскопок. К настоящему времени на стоянке выявлены свидетельства присутствия трех различных видов гоминид – Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neanderthalensis и Homo sapiens. В Азох 1 фрагмент нижней челюсти гоминида был найден предшествующей группой исследователей в период раскопок, проводимых в 1960-х гг. Есть неопределенность относительно возраста находки, которая была обнаружена в отло-жениях 250–400-тысячелетней давности. Образец представляет собой фрагмент правой половины нижней челюсти и содержит полностью сохранившийся третий моляр. Результаты предыдущих исследований, опубликованные на русском языке, обобщены в данном разделе. Находка имеет наибольшее сходство с образцом (взрослая особь) из Эрингсдорфа и может представлять собой локальный вариант того же вида. Мы провели тщательную экспертизу реплики данного фрагмента, которая показала, что находка хорошо вписывается в морфологические границы европейских среднеплейстоценовых гоминид. Использование различных моделей для объяснения эволюции данной группы гоминид показывает, что рассматриваемый образец может быть классифицирован как H. heidelbergensis или ранний неандерталец. Основываясь на примитивных признаках находки и некоторых специфических деталях, мы отдаем предпочтение предшествующему предположению и относим ее к виду Homo heidelbergensis.

Во время раскопок, проводимых нашей группой в 2010 г., в верхних слоях Азох 1, в отложениях возрастом около 100 тыс. лет, был найден полностью сохранившйхся коренной первый верхний левый моляр гоминида. В данной главе представлены предварительное описание и метрический анализ находки. Полученные результаты указывают, что обнаруженный зуб является типичным первым верхним моляром неандертальца и наиболее близок по форме к неандертальским образцам из Карпины (Хорватия). Третья серия находок датируется голоценом: останки расчлененных нижних конечностей современного Homo sapiens были обнаружены в Азох 2 в течение полевого сезона 2007 г. Найдены также два зуба – верхний правый премоляр и нижний правый боковой резец, которые могли принадлежать той же особи, возраст которой был оценен в 12–13 лет на момент смерти. В текущей фазе раскопок в Азох 5 были обнаружены зубы и фаланга, принадлежащие анатомически современному человеку.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to a number of individuals at several different institutions for the help they have provided in the preparation of this chapter. We thank Dr. Melanya Balayan, Director, and staff of Artsakh State Museum for Country and History Study for facilitating access to the Azokh 2 modern human remains. We are particularly grateful to Prof. Chris Dean and Dr. Helen Liversidge for helpful discussions, advice, and interest in the course of preparation of this manuscript. We also thank Dr. Liversidge for her help in preparation of the X-ray image of the Neanderthal specimen. We thank Dr. Yolanda Fernandez-Jalvo for her help and advice in the preparation of this chapter, and also for her careful review of the manuscript. We are very grateful to Felicity Baker for preparing the illustrations of the Azokh mandible shown in Fig. 5.1. We thank the Photography Department of MNCN for the preparation of the images of specimens from Azokh 5. We thank Drs. Patricio Dominguez Alonso, Yolanda Fernandez-Jalvo and John Murray for their help in preparing images of the Azokh mandible, Neanderthal tooth and the Azokh 5 specimens. We are grateful to three anonymous reviewers for their thorough review of this chapter.

References

  1. Al Qahtani, S. J., Hector, M. P., & Liversidge, H. M. (2010). Brief communication: The London atlas of human tooth development and eruption. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 142(3), 481–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Appendix: Fernández-Jalvo, Y., Ditchfield, P., Grün, R., Lees, W., Aubert, M., Torres, T., et al. (2016). Dating methods applied to Azokh Cave sites. In Y. Fernández-Jalvo, T. King, P. Andrews & L. Yepiskoposyan (Eds.), Azokh Cave and the Transcaucasian Corridor (pp. 321–339). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  3. Asryan, L., Moloney, N., & Ollé, M. (2016). Lithic assemblages recovered from Azokh 1. In Y. Fernández-Jalvo, T. King, L. Yepiskoposyan & P. Andrews (Eds.), Azokh Cave and the Transcaucasian Corridor (pp. 85–101). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  4. Bailey, S. E. (2004). A morphometric analysis of maxillary molar crowns of Middle–Late Pleistocene hominins. Journal of Human Evolution, 47, 183–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brown, W. A. B. (1985). Identification of Human Teeth. Institute of Archaeology, 1985, Bulletin No. 21/22.Google Scholar
  6. Carbonell, E., Bermudez de Castro, J. M., Arsuaga, J. L., Allué, E., Bastir, M., Benito, A., et al. (2005). An early Pleistocene hominin mandible from Atapuerca-TD6, Spain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 102(16), 5674–5678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Compton, T., & Stringer, C. B. (2012). The Human Remains. In S. Aldhouse-Green, R. Peterson E. A. Walker (Eds.), Neanderthal s in Wales: Pontnewydd and the Elwy Valley Caves (pp. 118–230). Oxbow Books: Oxford.Google Scholar
  8. Djafarov, A. (1983). Mustierskaya kultura Azerbajana (po materialam Taglarskoi pesheri) (The Mousterian Culture of Azerbaijan). Baku.Google Scholar
  9. Domínguez-Alonso, P., Aracil, E., Porres, J. A., Andrews, P., Lynch, E. P. & Murray, J. (2016). Geology and Geomorphology of Azokh Caves. In Y. Fernández-Jalvo, T. King, L. Yepiskoposyan & P. Andrews (Eds.), Azokh Cave and the Transcaucasian Corridor (pp. 55–84). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  10. Doronichev, V. B. (2008). The Lower Palaeolithic in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus: A reappraisal of the data and new approaches. PaleoAnthropology, pp. 107–157.Google Scholar
  11. Fernández-Jalvo, Y., King, T., Andrews, P., Yepiskoposyan, L., Moloney, N., Murray, J., et al. (2010). The Azokh Cave complex: Middle Pleistocene to Holocene human occupation in the Caucasus. Journal of Human Evolution, 58, 103–109.Google Scholar
  12. Fernández-Jalvo, Y., King, T., Andrews, P., & Yepiskoposyan, L. (2016). Introduction: Azokh Cave and the Transcaucasian Corridor. In Y. Fernández-Jalvo, T. King, L. Yepiskoposyan & P. Andrews (Eds.), Azokh Cave and the Transcaucasian Corridor (pp. 1–26). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  13. Gadziev, D. V., & Aliev, S. D. (1969). Plaeontological reasoning of the stratigraphy of the Palaeolithic site of Azokh (Paleontologicheskoe obosnovanie stratigrafii Azychskoi paleoliticheskoi stoyanki). UZ Azgosmedinstitut, T. XXX (in Russian).Google Scholar
  14. Gadziev, D. V., & Huseinov, M. M. (1970). Pervaya dlyz SSSR nakhodka ashel’skogo cheloveka (Azerbaijan, Azykh Cave) (The first find of Acheulean man in the USSR). Compendium of Azerbaijan State Medical Institute, vol. XXXI.Google Scholar
  15. Hillson, S., FitzGerald, C., & Flinn, H. (2005). Alternative dental measurements: Proposals and relationships with other measurements. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 126, 413–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Huseinov, M. M. (1973). Tainy Azykhskoi peschery (The mysteries of Azykh cave). Gyanjlik: Baku. (in Azerbaijani).Google Scholar
  17. Huseinov, M. M. (1985). Drevniy paleolit Azerbaidjana (cul’tura Kuruchay i etapy ee razvitia) (Lower Palaeolithic of Azerbaijan (Kuruchai culture and its development periods)). Baku.Google Scholar
  18. Huseinov, M. M., Aliev, S. D., Velichko, A. A., Gadziev, D. V., Djafarov, A. K., Mamedov, A. V., et al. (1985). Main results of the complex research works of the Early Palaeolithic cave site of Azykh (Glavnie itogi komleksnikh issledovanii drevnepaleoliticheskoi peshernoi stoianki Azykh). In Achievements of Soviet anthropologists. Baku.Google Scholar
  19. Higham, T., Compton, T., Stringer, C., Jacobi, R., Shapiro, B., Trinkaus, E., et al. (2011). The earliest evidence for anatomically modern humans in northwestern Europe. Nature, 479, 7374, 521–524 & SI 1–76.Google Scholar
  20. Kasimova R. M. (1986). Pervaya nakhodka samogo drevnego peschernogo cheloveka na territorii SSSR (Azerbaidzhanskaia SSR. Azykh). – Baku: Elm, 1986. – 68 s. [The first find of the most ancient cave human on the territory of the USSR (Azerbaijan SSR. Azykh). – Baku: Elm, 1986. – 68 p.].Google Scholar
  21. Kasimova, R. M. (2001). Anthropological research of Azykh Man osseous remains. Human Evolution, 16, 37–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lioubine, V. P. (2002). L’Acheuléen du Caucuase. ERAUL 93 Études et Recherches Archéologiques de l’Université de Liège. Liège.Google Scholar
  23. Moorrees, C. F. A. (1957). The Aleut Dentition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Murphey, T. (1959). The changing pattern of dentine exposure in human tooth attrition. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 17, 167–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Murray, J., Domínguez-Alonso, P., Fernández-Jalvo, Y., King, T., Lynch, E. P., Andrews, P., et al. (2010). Pleistocene to Holocene stratigraphy of Azokh 1 Cave, Lesser Caucasus. Irish Journal of Earth Sciences, 28, 75–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Murray, J., Lynch, E. P., Domínguez-Alonso, P., & Barham, M. (2016). Stratigraphy and Sedimentology of Azokh Caves, South Caucasus. In Y. Fernández-Jalvo, T. King, L. Yepiskoposyan & P. Andrews (Eds.), Azokh Cave and the Transcaucasian Corridor (pp. 27–54). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  27. Rink, W. J., Schwarcz, H. P., Smith, F. H., & Radovčić, J. (1995). ESR ages for Krapina hominids. Nature, 378, 24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rosas, A., & Bermúdez de Castro, J. M. (1998). The Mauer mandible and the evolutionary significance of Homo heidelbergensis. Geobios, 31, 687–697.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Shifman, A., & Chananel, I. (1978). Prevalence of taurodontism found in radiographic dental examination of 1,200 young adult Israeli patients. Community Dental. Oral Epidemiology, 6, 200–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Stringer, C. (2012). The Status of Homo heidelbergensis (Schoetensack 1908). Evolutionary Anthropology, 21, 101–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Turner II, C. G., Nichol, C. R., & Scott, G. R. (1991). Scoring procedures for key morphological traits of the permanent dentition: The Arizona State University Dental Anthropology System. In M. Kelley & C. Larsen (Eds.), Advances in Dental Anthropology (pp. 13–31). New York: Wiley Liss.Google Scholar
  32. Van der Made, J., Torres, T., Ortiz, J. E., Moreno-Pérez, L., & Fernández-Jalvo, Y. (2016). The new material of large mammals from Azokh and comments on the older collections. In Y. Fernández-Jalvo, T. King, L. Yepiskoposyan & P. Andrews (Eds.), Azokh Cave and the Transcaucasian Corridor (pp. 117–159). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  33. Weidenreich, F. (1936). The mandibles of Sinanthropus pekinensis: A comparative study. Palaeontologia Sinica, series D, 7, 1–162.Google Scholar
  34. Weidenreich, F. (1937). The dentition of Sinanthropus pekinensis: A comparative odontography of the Hominids. Palaeontologia Sinica. Whole series 101, New series D1, 1–180.Google Scholar
  35. Weidenreich, F. (1943). The skull of Sinanthropus pekinensis: A comparative study on a primitive hominin skull. Palaeontologia Sinica, Series 127, 1–298.Google Scholar
  36. Wolpoff, M. H. (1979). The Krapina dental remains. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 50, 67–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zubov A. A. (1968). Odontology. Methods of anthropological research/Odontologia. Metodika antropologicheskikh isledovanii. The Science Publishers, Moscow.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tania King
    • 1
  • Tim Compton
    • 2
  • Antonio Rosas
    • 3
  • Peter Andrews
    • 4
  • Levon Yepiskoposyan
    • 2
  • Lena Asryan
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Blandford Town MuseumBlandford, DorsetUK
  2. 2.Institute of Molecular BiologyNational Academy of SciencesYerevanArmenia
  3. 3.Paleoanthropology GroupMuseo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC)MadridSpain
  4. 4.Natural History MuseumLondonUK
  5. 5.Àrea de PrehistòriaUniversitat Rovira i Virgili (URV)TarragonaSpain
  6. 6.IPHES, Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució SocialTarragonaSpain
  7. 7.Artsakh State UniversityStepanakertNagorno-Karabakh

Personalised recommendations