Skip to main content
Ref ID: 26409
Ref Type: Conference Paper
Authors: Shackelford, Laura L.
Demeter, Fabrice
Bacon, Anne-Marie
Duringer, Ph,
Westaway, Kira
T. Sayavon Khamdy,
Braga, José
P. Sichanthongtip,
P. Khamdalavong
Ponche, J. L.
Title: Mosaic traits of the human mandible from Tam Pa Ling, Laos at 46 ka.
Date: 2013
Source: Paleoanthropology Society Meeting
Place of Publication: Honolulu, Hawai'i
Abstract: Tam Pa Ling (TPL) is a cave site in northern Laos from which an early modern human (EMH) cranium was recently recovered (Demeter et al. 2012). This cranium (TPL 1) is fully modern in its anatomy with no archaic traits. The nearly complete mandible of a second individual (TPL 2) has been found in the same stratigraphic layer. Radiocarbon and luminescence dates of the surrounding sediments provide a minimum age of 46–51 ka for these fossils, and direct U-series dating of the cranium provides a maximum age of ca. 63 ka. These dates place the TPL specimens among the oldest, well-dated modern human fossils in eastern Asia. The mandible is small in overall dimensions, with a maximum length of 77.0mm and an estimated bicondylar breadth of 92–100mm. A majority of its characteristics are consistent with modern humans, most notably mental foramen position and the presence of a trigonum mentale (projecting tuber symphyseos and paired lateral tubercles). However, it also has archaic features, in particular the extreme bucco-lingual robusticity of the corpus at the mental foramen. The breadth of the mandibular corpus at the mental foramen of TPL 2 (16.2mm and 16.1mm for right and left sides, respectively) exceeds that of all EMH [East Asian EMH: 12.6±1.8mm (n=6), western EMH: 12.6±1.9mm (n=12)] and lies at the top of the range of variation for Neandertals [15.5±1.8mm (n=28)]. As such, geometric morphometric analyses and analyses of discrete traits are used to further investigate the morphology and associations of the TPL 2 mandible. The features demonstrated by TPL 2 suggest that the population in northern Laos around 50 ka demonstrated a mosaic of modern and archaic features or that two populations lived in this area within a relatively short time period.
Date Created: 2/29/2016