This study explores the significance of shape differences in the maxillary first molar crowns of Neandertals and anatomically modern humans. It uses morphometric analysis to quantify these differences and to investigate how the orientation of major cusps, relative cusp base areas and occlusal polygon area influence crown shape. The aims of this study were to 1) quantify these data to test whether the tooth shapes of Neandertals and anatomically modern humans differ significantly and 2) to explore if either of the shapes is derived relative to earlier fossil hominins. Data were collected from digital occlusal photographs using image-processing software. Cusp angles, relative cusp base areas and occlusal polygon areas were measured on Neandertals (n = 15), contemporary modern humans (n = 62), Upper Paleolithic humans (n = 6), early anatomically modern humans (n = 3) and Homo erectus (n = 3). Univariate and multivariate statistical tests were used to evaluate the differences between contemporary modern humans and Neandertals, while the much sparser data sets from the other fossil samples were included primarily for comparison.
- Anatomically modern humans
- Maxillary molars
- Postcanine dental morphology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics