Archaeology. The makers of the Protoaurignacian and implications for Neandertal extinction.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Benazzi, S; Slon, V; Talamo, S; Negrino, F; Peresani, M; Bailey, S E; Sawyer, S; Panetta, D; Vicino, G; Starnini, E; Mannino, M A; Salvadori, P A; Meyer, M; Pääbo, S; Hublin, J-J
Year of Publication: 2015
Journal: Science
Volume: 348
Issue: 6236
Pagination: 793-6
Date Published: 2015 May 15
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1095-9203
Keywords: Animals, Archaeology, Base Sequence, Dental Enamel, DNA, Mitochondrial, Extinction, Biological, Genome, Mitochondrial, Humans, Incisor, Molecular Sequence Data, Neanderthals, Phylogeny, Tooth, Deciduous

The Protoaurignacian culture is pivotal to the debate about the timing of the arrival of modern humans in western Europe and the demise of Neandertals. However, which group is responsible for this culture remains uncertain. We investigated dental remains associated with the Protoaurignacian. The lower deciduous incisor from Riparo Bombrini is modern human, based on its morphology. The upper deciduous incisor from Grotta di Fumane contains ancient mitochondrial DNA of a modern human type. These teeth are the oldest human remains in an Aurignacian-related archaeological context, confirming that by 41,000 calendar years before the present, modern humans bearing Protoaurignacian culture spread into southern Europe. Because the last Neandertals date to 41,030 to 39,260 calendar years before the present, we suggest that the Protoaurignacian triggered the demise of Neandertals in this area.

DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa2773
Alternate Journal: Science