Is Central Asia the eastern outpost of the Neandertal range? A reassessment of the Teshik‐Tash child
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Since its discovery in southeastern Uzbekistan in 1938, the Teshik-Tash child has been considered a Neandertal. Its affinity is important to studies of Late Pleistocene hominin growth and development as well as interpretations of the Central Asian Middle Paleolithic and the geographic distribution of Neandertals. A close examination of the original Russian monograph reveals the incompleteness of key morphologies associated with the cranial base and face and problems with the reconstruction of the Teshik-Tash cranium, making its Neandertal attribution less certain than previously assumed. This study reassesses the Neandertal status of Teshik-Tash 1 by comparing it to a sample of Neandertal, Middle and Upper Paleolithic modern humans, and recent human sub-adults. Separate examinations of the cranium and mandible are conducted using multinomial logistic regression and discriminant function analysis to assess group membership. Results of the cranial analysis group Teshik-Tash with Upper Paleolithic modern humans when variables are not size-standardized, while results of the mandibular analysis place the specimen with recent modern humans for both raw and size-standardized data. Although these results are influenced by limitations related to the incomplete nature of the comparative sample, they suggest that the morphology of Teshik-Tash 1 as expressed in craniometrics is equivocal. Although, further quantitative studies as well as additional sub-adult fossil finds from this region are needed to ascertain the morphological pattern of this specimen specifically, and Central Asian Middle Paleolithic hominins in general, these results challenge current characterizations of this territory as the eastern boundary of the Neandertal range during the Late Pleistocene.
author list (cited authors)
Glantz, M., Athreya, S., & Ritzman, T.