La Ferrassie 8 Neandertal child reloaded: New remains and re-assessment of the original collection.
The first evidence of the partial infant Neandertal skeleton La Ferrassie 8 (LF8) was discovered in 1970, although most of the remains were found in 1973 as part of the 1968-1973 work at the site by H. Delporte. This individual and the other Neandertal children from La Ferrassie were published in the early 1980s by J.-L. Heim, and since then LF8 has been regarded as coming from a poorly documented excavation. The recent rediscovery of the box that contained the hominin bones given by Delporte to Heim in the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (MNHN) collection provided new fossils and helped to locate LF8 in the site: level M2 in square 1. Two visits to the Musée d'Archéologie nationale et Domaine national de Saint-Germain-en-Laye (MAN) yielded additional fossil remains from both the 1970 and 1973 excavations and resulted in the discovery of all of the notes from the excavation of H. Delporte between 1968 and 1973. Here the new fossil remains (47 after performing all possible refits), representing significant portions of the cranium, mandible, and vertebral column together with fragmentary hand and costal remains, are described. Unsurprisingly, the morphology of the bony labyrinth and of a complete stapes from the nearly complete left temporal show clear Neandertal affinities. Additionally, a complete reassessment of the original LF8 collection has resulted in the identification of several errors in the anatomical determination. Despite the significant increase in the anatomical representation of LF8, the skeletal remains are still limited to the head, thorax, pelvis, and four hand phalanges, with some very fragile elements relatively well preserved. Different hypotheses are proposed to explain this anatomical representation, which can be tested during future fieldwork.