Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

A re appraisal of ceprano calvaria affinities (ascenzi et al.)


Published on

Published in: Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

A re appraisal of ceprano calvaria affinities (ascenzi et al.)

  1. 1. News and Views A re-appraisal of Ceprano calvaria affinities with Homo erectus, after the new reconstruction A. Ascenzi, Italian Institute of Human Paleontology, Piazza Mincio 2, 00198 Rome, Italy. E-mail: F. Mallegni, G. Manzi, A. G. Segre & E. Segre Naldini Keywords: Homo erectus, Journal of Human Evolution (2000) 39, 443–450 cranial morphology, Lower doi:10.1006/jhev.2000.0425 Paleolithic, Ceprano, Italy. Available online at on Introduction Research in the Priverno Basin provides a Following the reconstruction of the Ceprano chronological outline for the lower part of calvaria by Clarke (2000), additional minor the stratigraphic series in the central improvements were made by M. A. de Ceprano Basin, including sediments that Lumley (with the assistance of C. Lanoux) contain a chopper industry hypothesized and by one of us (F.M., with the assistance to be broadly contemporaneous with the of S. Ricci). The present paper provides a hominid. A lagoon deposit, considered to brief account of these modifications, to- be equivalent to the limnic series at gether with a reassessment of the mor- Ceprano, includes thin layers of volcani- phology and morphometrics of the Ceprano clastic augite-biotite sands, identical to calvaria. This allows an opportunity to those in the Ceprano Basin. During the critically evaluate some of the Homo erectus Early Pleistocene both basins were con- characteristics that have been previously re- nected through a common paleohydro- ported (Ascenzi et al., 1996, 1998; Ascenzi graphic drainage system. This volcaniclastic & Segre, 1997a,b). We also introduce new layer has an Ar/Ar date, based on biotite, of data on the geochronology of the site. 1060 110 ka (Rammelzwaal, 1978; Sevink et al., 1984). The outcrop that contained the fossil hominid, which was subsequently Further consideration of the enclosed in a paleocolluvial clay layer geochronology (Ascenzi et al., 1996; Ascenzi & Segre, The circumstances of recovery of the speci- 1997a), must be younger than these dates. men and the geological and archaeological An age of 800–900 ka provides a reasonable context of the site have been described else- estimate, and one that corresponds closely where (Ascenzi et al., 1996, 1998; Ascenzi & to the previous correlation of the hominid Segre, 1997a,b, 2000). These papers report with the lower part of the Cromerian K/Ar dates obtained from strata overlying complex (Azzaroli, 1951; Turner, 1996). the horizon from which the calvaria was recovered. Further geological investigations Further modifications to the calvaria in the Priverno Basin, situated about 25 km from Ceprano, provide independent evi- Having been invited to prepare a mould dence for estimating the age of the calvaria for casting, M. A. de Lumley removed and its associated sediments. dental plaster from the calvaria. During the 0047–2484/00/100443+08$35.00/0 2000 Academic Press
  2. 2. 444 .  ET AL. Figure 1. The new reconstruction of the Ceprano calvaria as viewed in right norma lateralis. Figure 2. The new reconstruction of the Ceprano calvaria as viewed in left norma lateralis. process, she realized that a large fragment of bone (Figures 1 and 2). Identification of parietal was incorrectly oriented, and that bregma has allowed us to establish the mid- it represented the medio-anterior corner of sagittal plane of the cranial vault. In the right parietal joining the frontal bone addition, de Lumley added two previously along the first third of the coronal suture. unidentified bone fragments to the recon- Its correct placement, later refined by F. struction that represent the frontal processes Mallegni, served to verify the connection of the zygomatic bones (Figures 1 and 2). between the right parietal and the frontal The modification was carried out by
  3. 3.    445 Mallegni, who also recognized that a further maximum breadth at the level of the crista fragment completed the occipital along supramastoidea. the sutural margin with the right parietal In superior view, the frontal has a massive (Figure 1). and continuous supraorbital torus, and With the current reassembling of the the calvaria appears bursoidal in shape. calvaria, all available portions of each This latter feature was described by von bone connect directly to others. In this way, Koenigswald Weidenreich (1939) and the cranial structure can be confidently Weidenreich (1943) as being characteristic reconstructed. Evidence on this point of H. erectus skulls from Java, and is con- has been provided by the final touches of sidered distinctive with respect to the Mallegni, who was able to show that only a material from Zhoukoudian. In contrast, few drops of glue are sufficient to join the a frontal trait that distinguishes Ceprano cranial portions, and only small plaster from the more typical representatives of reinforcements are necessary to support the H. erectus, both from Asia and Africa, is assembled calvaria. the rather limited extent of the post- orbital constriction. The index of minimum frontal breadth/biorbital breadth is 84·8, which is relatively high in comparison to New insights into the morphology and OH9 (81·3), for example. The enlargement taxonomy of the Ceprano hominid of the frontal bone (minimum/maximum Tables 1 and 2 provide an assessment, both frontal breadth) gives a value of 89·8, which metrical and descriptive, of the morphologi- is the highest value reported in Table 1. cal affinities of the Ceprano calvaria. Data By looking at the coronal section of the reported in the tables can be compared with best preserved right side in posterior view, those available in the literature, in order to the maximum breadth of the skull occurs ascertain its affinities to H. erectus. Obvi- at the level of crista supramastoidea, after ously, additional comparisons will need to which it narrows slightly towards the be made with other European taxa, particu- angled parietal (nearly 105 ) at the level larly H. heidelbergensis (Rightmire, 1998) of the superior temporal line. The reduc- and H. antecessor (Bermudez de Castro et al., tion in width then increases rapidly as the 1997). profile approaches the sagittal suture, Morphologically and metrically, the where there is no evidence of sagittal Ceprano calvaria approaches the mor- keeling. phology in H. erectus, but the degree of The temporal squama rises superiorly, variation has to be enlarged if the specimen with its parietal margin following a high is included in the hypodigm. For example, if curve that is somewhat anteriorly elongated. we consider the features listed in Table 2, The form of the squama is quite differ- only two-thirds of the character states corre- ent from the Zhoukoudian sample spond (and not always unequivocally) with (Weidenreich, 1943). It looks more like a the list of distinctive features generally rec- right-angled triangle, with the sphenoid ognized as typical of H. erectus (Wood, margin forming the shorter cathetus, the 1991). H. erectus is characterized by a long parietal margin the longer one, and the and low cranial vault, whereas the Ceprano zygomatic process and its continuation specimen shows a distinctive profile in along the supramastoid crest the hypo- which the cranial vault is low (compare data tenuse. The remaining components of the in Table 1) but relatively short, with a temporal bone are badly damaged. Only conspicuous medio-lateral expansion and the roof of the auditory canal is intact on
  4. 4. 446 Table 1 Metrical comparisons of the Ceprano calvaria (new reconstruction) with Homo erectus specimens from East Asia and Africa Ceprano Sang.2 Sang.17 Sambung. Zkd.X Zkd.XI Zkd.XII ER 3733 ER 3883 OH 9 Whole vault M.1 Maximum cranial length 198 206 200 199 192 195 182 182 205 M.11b Biauricular breadth (151) 126 140 137 147 143 151 132 129 135 M.20 Auriculo-bregmatic height (105) W.12 Supramastoid breadth (161) 141 (?) 161 151 (?) (150) 145 (147) 142 139 146 W.15 Interentoglenoid breadth 109 83 86 89 Breadth/length cranial index (W.12/M.1 100) (81·3) 78·2 75·5 (75·4) 75·5 (75·4) 78 76·4 71·2 Face M.44 Biorbital breadth (125) 115 (114) (104) 108 (123) Frontal bone W.62 Supraorbital vertical thickness (L) 21 [12] 18 16·5 13·2 14·6 8·5 13 18 .  ET AL. M.9 Minimum frontal breadth (106) 82 99 102 89 84 91 91 88 (100) M.10 Maximum frontal breadth (118) 102 119 116 (110) 106 108 110 105 M.26 Frontal sagittal arc 118 129 122 124 (119) 118 M.29 Frontal sagittal chord 106 (118) (115) 115 106 113 (104) 101 M.32(5) Frontal angle (138) 139 140 Frontal profile (g–m g–i/op)* 60 55 63 61 56 Frontal breadth index (M.9/M.10 100) (89·8) 80·4 83·2 87·9 (80·9) 79·2 84·3 (82·7) 83·8 Postorbital constriction index (M.9/M.44 100) (84·8) 86·1 (89·5) (87·5) 81·5 (81·3)
  5. 5. Table 1 Continued Ceprano Sang.2 Sang.17 Sambung. Zkd.X Zkd.XI Zkd.XII ER 3733 ER 3883 OH 9 Parietal and temporal bones M.8 Biparietal maximum breadth 156 137 144 146 137 136 140 127 132 138 M.27 Parietal sagittal arc (98) (103) 109 102 113 92 102 (83) 93 M.30 Parietal sagittal chord 95 (98) 106 96 106 86 91 (79) 86 M.27(3) Lambda–asterion arc (L) 112 (92) 91 93 (99) 92 83 85 Lambda–asterion arc (R) 103 98 82 M.30(3) Lambda–asterion chord (L) 98 (82) 87 (79) 85 (84) 87 78 76 Lambda–asterion chord (R) 92 88 77 W.7 Mastoid height (R) (27) 12 25 20 (23) 30 Occipital bone M.12 Biasterionic breadth 128 122 142 (111) 113 115 124 121 123 M.31(1) Lambda–inion chord 62 (45) 58 48 52·5 61 49 (54) Upper scale inclination (l–i g–i/op)* 58 62·5 68 57 61 Inion–endinion distance 22 38 34 35 Occipital upper-scale index (M.31·1/M.12 100) 48·4 (36·9) 40·8 42·5 45·7 49·2 40·5 (43·9)    All measurements were made by three different authors on separate occasions on the Clarke’s reconstruction, after the minor additional improvements were carried out; averages are reported where appropriate (differences less than 10 mm); definitions and numbering follow Martin Saller (1957; M.n) or, alternatively, Wood (1991; W.n); measurements of length are in mm and those of angles in degrees; measurements involving an evaluation of the exact position of the reference point/s are enclosed in parentheses; L=left; R=right; Sang.=Sangiran; Sambung.=Sambungmachan; Zkd.=Zoukoudian; ER=East Turkana; OH=Olduvai; comparative data as reported by Weidenreich (1943), Rightmire (1990) and Wood (1991). * Denotes the angle formed by the two chords. Inion and opisthocranion are coincidental in Homo erectus. 447
  6. 6. Table 2 Character states of the Ceprano calvaria according to the list of distinctive features of Homo erectus by Wood (1991: Table 2.11, p. 37) 448 State Comments Cranial shape and size Overall 1a Long cranial vault No See metrical comparisons in Table 1 1b Low cranial vault Yes See metrical comparisons in Table 1 2 Maximum breadth across the angular torus or supramastoid crest Yes Supramastoid crest 3 Thick vault bones Yes e.g., 16 mm at parietal eminence (R) 4 Pronounced postorbital constriction No Slightly expressed Individual bones Frontal 6 Frontal keel or ridge (No) Distinct median bump of the frontal squama in spite of a flat, receding forehead 7 Straight junction of torus and frontal squama No Given the presence of a supratoral sulcus, the plane above the torus is concave, particularly above glabella 8 Coronal ridge No Parietal 9 Flattened and rectangular parietal (No) Gently curved; square in shape Temporal 11 Low temporal squama No Estimated height 12 Small mastoid process No Occipital 13 Opisthocranion coincident with inion Yes 14 Sharply angulated Yes 16 Discrepancy between inion and endinion Yes Nasals 17 Broad nasal bones (Yes) Probable, given the massive aspect of the fronto-nasal suture (L) Specific morphological features .  ET AL. Frontal 18 Large, continuous supraorbital ridges with a supratoral sulcus Yes 19 Lateral wing to supraorbital torus (Yes) Not anteriorly projected Parietal 20 Prominent angular torus at mastoid angle Yes Well expressed, although not particularly prominent Temporal 21a Marked supramastoid crests Yes 21b Marked mastoid crests No Little relief of the surface of the mastoid process is visible, without a clear supramastoid sulcus 22 Occipitomastoid ridge (Yes) A ridge medial to the digastric fossa on both sides of the occipito- mastoid suture is present 23 Juxtamastoid ridge absent Yes 24 Marked suprameatal tegmen (Yes) Present, but not particularly marked Occipital 26a Occipital torus, with supratoral sulcus Yes 26b Occipital torus continuous with angular torus and supramastoid No Torus confirmed to the occipital crest 27 Supernumerary bones at lambda No Endocranial 31 Large posterior branch of middle meningeal artery and vein Yes Parentheses indicate observation uncertain or equivocal. Note that some traits (1, 21 and 26) have been divided with respect to the original list by Wood (1991), in order to better describe the features encountered in the Ceprano calvaria, and others (5, 10, 15, 25 and 28–30) have been omitted because of the state of preservation of the specimen (absence of the region involved). R=right; L=left.
  7. 7.    449 the right side, while the tympanic plates of of the braincase. Nevertheless, the geo- both sides have been lost. The severely dam- graphical provenience has to be taken into aged petrous portions are short stumps, and consideration when evaluating distinctive their orientation is difficult to discern. traits, such as the bursoidal shape of the The general form of the occipital squama skull, the limited extent of the postorbital is defined by the relationship between its constriction, and the absence of a connec- maximum (biasterionic) breadth and the tion between torus occipitalis and crista lambda–inion chord. The index furnished supramastoidea. by these two dimensions is 49·2, and this indicates a relatively short length for the upper scale of the occipital. Furthermore, Acknowledgements the bone is clearly angled in lateral view (see We are greatly indebted to R. J. Clarke and Table 1), with a prominent torus occipitalis M. A. de Lumley for their valuable and and a nuchal plane that faces backward and generous help. We also wish to thank A. inferiorly. Inion and endinion are not posi- Benvenuti, P. Cassoli, F. Di Baldo, C. tioned at the same level, with endinion lying Lanoux, S. Ricci, and L. Virgilii for their as much as 22 mm below inion. skilful technical assistance. In addition, one important observation that has not been given sufficient attention is the thickness of the vault bones in the References Ceprano specimen. Thickness varies from Ascenzi, A. Segre, A. G. (1997a). Resti di cranio 8·0 mm (measured at lambda on the occipi- umano del Pleistocene medio-inferiore a Ceprano. tal, following Wood, 1991:n. 113) to 24 mm Rend. Sc, Fis. Nat., Accad. Naz. Lincei S 9, 8, 39–67. Ascenzi, A. Segre, A. G. (1997b). Discovery of a (at the external occipital protuberance, Homo erectus calvarium at Ceprano, Central Italy. Wood n. 115), while the figure obtained in Anthropologie (Brno) 35, 241–246. the right parietal eminence region (Wood n. Ascenzi, A. Segre, A. G. (2000). The fossil hominid from Ceprano, Central Italy. In (M. Aloisi, B. 111) is 16 mm. The exceptional thickness of Battaglia, E. Carafoli G. A. Danieli, Eds) The the bone at the base of the calvaria is noted Origin of Humankind. IVSLA series, vol. II. Venice by Clarke (2000). Examination of the inter- and Amsterdam: IVSLA IOS. nal structure of the cranial thickening, as Ascenzi, A., Biddittu, I., Cassoli, P. F., Segre, A. G. Segre-Naldini, E. (1996). A calvarium of late observed directly on the broken ones or by Homo erectus from Ceprano, Italy. J. hum. Evol. 31, X-rays, yielded ambiguous results because 409–423. fossilization made the boundaries between Ascenzi, A., Biddittu, I., Cassoli, P. F., Segre, A. G. Segre-Naldini, E. (1998). A calvaria of a Lower the tables and the diploe difficult to discern. ¨ Pleistocene hominid from Southern Latium, Central The cranial capacity, measured using the Italy. In (J. Gibert, F. Sanchez, L. Gibert F. Ribot, millet grain method, is 1057 ml—a value Eds) The Hominids and their Environment during the Lower and Middle Pleistocene of Eurasia. within the H. erectus range, according to Proceedings of the International Conference, Orce Rightmire (1990). 1995. 287–297. Orce: Museo ‘‘J. Gibert’’. In conclusion, if the Ceprano specimen Azzaroli, A. (1951). The geological age of the Cromer forest bed. Proc. Prehist. Soc. N.S. 17, 168–170. is classified as H. erectus it represents the Bermudez de Castro, J. M., Arsuaga, J. L., Carbonell, earliest specimen of this taxon in Europe. E., Rosas, A., Martinez, I. Mosquera, M. (1997). The chronology, assuming an age between A hominid from the lower Pleistocene of Atapuerca: Possible ancestor to Neandertals and modern 800 and 900 ka as the most probable, is humans. Science 276, 1392–1395. consistent with its archaic morphology, Clarke, R. J. (2000). A corrected reconstruction and especially the massive continuous frontal interpretation of the Homo erectus calvaria from Ceprano, Italy. J. hum. Evol. 39, 433. torus, sharply angled occipital bone, small Martin, R. Saller, K. (1957). Lehrbuch der cranial capacity, and exceptional thickness Anthropologie, Bd. I.. Stuttgart: G. Fisher.
  8. 8. 450 .  ET AL. Rammelzwaal, A. (1978). Soil genesis and Quaternary Turner, C. (1996). The Early Pleistocene in Europe. landscape development in the Tyrrhenian coastal Proceed. S.E.Q.S. Cromer Symposium 1–329. area of South-Central Italy. Publ. Fysisch-Geogr. Norwich, U.K., 1990. Bodenkundig Lab. Univ. Amsterdam 28, 1–310. Von Koenigswald, G. H. R. Weidenreich, F. (1939). Rightmire, G. P. (1990). The Evolution of Homo The relationship between Pithecanthropus and erectus. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sinanthropus. Nature 144, 926–929. Rightmire, G. P. (1998). Human evolution in the Weidenreich, F. (1943). The skull of Sinanthropus Middle Pleistocene: the role of Homo heidelbergensis. pekinensis: a comparative study on a primitive Evol. Anthropol. 6, 218–227. hominid skull. Palaeontologia Sinica, New Series Sevink, J., Rammelzwaal, A. Spaargaren, O. C. D.10, 1–484. (1984). The soils of Southern Lazio and adjacent Wood, B. (1991). Koobi Fora Research Project. Hominid Campania. Publ. Fysisch-Geogr. Bodenkundig. Lab. Remains. Vol. 4. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Univ. Amsterdam 38, 1–144.