The late Early Pleistocene human dental remains from Uadi Aalad and Mulhuli-Amo (Buia), Eritrean Danakil: macromorphology and microstructure
Fieldwork performed during the last 15 years in various Early Pleistocene East African sites has significantly enlarged the fossil record of Homo erectus sensu lato (s.l.). Additional evidence comes from the Danakil Depression of Eritrea, where over 200 late Early to early Middle Pleistocene sites have been identified within a ∼1000 m-thick sedimentary succession outcropping in the Dandiero Rift Basin, near Buia. Along with an adult cranium (UA 31), which displays a blend of H. erectus-like and derived morpho-architectural features and three pelvic remains, two isolated permanent incisors (UA 222 and UA 369) have also been recovered from the 1 Ma (millions of years ago) Homo-bearing outcrop of Uadi Aalad. Since 2010, our surveys have expanded to the nearby (4.7 km) site of Mulhuli-Amo (MA). This is a fossiliferous area that has been preliminarily surveyed because of its exceptional concentration of Acheulean stone tools. So far, the site has yielded 10 human remains, including the unworn crown of a lower permanent molar (MA 93). Using diverse analytical tools (including high resolution μCT and μMRI), we analysed the external and internal macromorphology and microstructure of the three specimens, and whenever possible compared the results with similar evidence from early Homo, H. erectus s.l., H. antecessor, H. heidelbergensis (from North Africa), Neanderthals and modern humans. We also assessed the UA 369 lower incisor from Uadi Aalad for root completion timing and showed that it compares well with data for root apex closure in modern human populations.
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