Dental Study Gives Clues of Human Development

In collaboration with colleagues from France, Spain, South Africa, and the United States, a new study led by researchers with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences provides insight to the dental development of archaic Homo species.

Published in Science Advances, the paper, “First Systematic Assessment of Dental Growth and Development in an Archaic Hominin (genus, Homo) From East Asia,” used advanced synchrotron microtomography to analyze a juvenile Homo dental fossil from the Middle-Late Pleistocene at the Xujiayao site in China. Researchers saw characteristics in the Xujiayao juvenile found in Homo erectus, modern humans and Neanderthals. 

Many aspects of the Xujiayao juvenile point to signs that a slow life history comparable to that of modern humans may have appeared prior to fully human morphology, according to researchers.

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