The early onset of weaning in modern humans has been linked to the high nutritional demand of brain development that is intimately connected with infant physiology and growth rate. In Neanderthals, ontogenetic patterns in early life are still debated, with some studies suggesting an accelerated development and others indicating only subtle differences vs. modern humans. Here we report the onset of weaning and rates of enamel growth using an unprecedented sample set of three late (∼70 to 50 ka) Neanderthals and one Upper Paleolithic modern human from northeastern Italy via spatially resolved chemical/isotopic analyses and histomorphometry of deciduous teeth. Our results reveal that the modern human nursing strategy, with onset of weaning at 5 to 6 mo, was present among these Neanderthals. This evidence, combined with dental development akin to modern humans, highlights their similar metabolic constraints during early life and excludes late weaning as a factor contributing to Neanderthals’demise.

Early life of Neanderthals

Matteo Romandini;Davide Delpiano;Rossella Duches;Alessandra Livraghi;Emanuela Cristiani;Marco Peresani
;
2020

Abstract

The early onset of weaning in modern humans has been linked to the high nutritional demand of brain development that is intimately connected with infant physiology and growth rate. In Neanderthals, ontogenetic patterns in early life are still debated, with some studies suggesting an accelerated development and others indicating only subtle differences vs. modern humans. Here we report the onset of weaning and rates of enamel growth using an unprecedented sample set of three late (∼70 to 50 ka) Neanderthals and one Upper Paleolithic modern human from northeastern Italy via spatially resolved chemical/isotopic analyses and histomorphometry of deciduous teeth. Our results reveal that the modern human nursing strategy, with onset of weaning at 5 to 6 mo, was present among these Neanderthals. This evidence, combined with dental development akin to modern humans, highlights their similar metabolic constraints during early life and excludes late weaning as a factor contributing to Neanderthals’demise.
2020
Nava, Alessia; Lugli, Federico; Romandini, Matteo; Badino, Federica; Evans, David; Helbling, Angela H.; Oxilia, Gregorio; Arrighi, Simona; Bortolini, Eugenio; Delpiano, Davide; Duches, Rossella; Figus, Carla; Livraghi, Alessandra; Marciani, Giulia; Silvestrini, Sara; Cipriani, Anna; Giovanardi, Tommaso; Pini, Roberta; Tuniz, Claudio; Bernardini, Federico; Dori, Irene; Coppa, Alfredo; Cristiani, Emanuela; Dean, Christopher; Bondioli, Luca; Peresani, Marco; Müller, Wolfgang; Benazzi, Stefano
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2425158
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