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A reexamination of the Middle Paleolithic human remains from Riparo Tagliente, Italy

Arnaud, Julie, Peretto, Carlo, Panetta, Daniele, Tripodi, Maria, Fontana, Federica, Arzarello, Marta, Thun Hohenstein, Ursula, Berto, Claudio, Sala, Benedetto, Oxilia, Gregorio, Salvadori, Piero A., Benazzi, Stefano
Quaternary international 2016 v.425 pp. 437-444
Homo, dogs, enamel, fossils, humans, teeth, topography, Italy
Despite new discoveries of human fossil remains, some aspects of paleoanthropological research are biased by the poor sample size, which limits our understanding of intra-species variability among the different hominin species. In this context, continuous assessment and reassessment of human fossil remains discovered decades ago, and often unknown to the scientific community, represent an opportunity to address this issue. Moreover, deciduous teeth are less studied than permanent dentitions, an aspect which contributes to limit our understanding.In the present study, we provide a detailed description of Tagliente 3 (upper right second deciduous molar) and Tagliente 4 (lower left deciduous canine), two deciduous teeth from Riparo Tagliente (Stallavena di Grezzana, Verona) attributed to Homo neanderthalensis.In terms of morphology and size, Tagliente 3 presents typical Neandertal derived features (e.g., likely large hypocone and complex topography of the enamel-dentine junction). Although deciduous canines usually do not provide substantial morphologically diagnostic information, Tagliente 4 falls in the upper range of the Neandertal variability for its bucco-lingual diameter. In terms of tissue proportions both teeth fall within the Neandertal range of variation: Tagliente 3 for the enamel thickness distribution and Tagliente 4 for the volume of the crown dentine.This work contributes to increase our knowledge on the variability of Neandertal deciduous dentition.