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Relationships of Middle and Upper Pleistocene hominids from sub-Saharan Africa

Naturevolume 260pages238240 (1976) | Download Citation



IT has long been common to refer to the Broken Hill (Kabwe) and other later Pleistocene African hominids as representive of a “Neaderthaloid” population in the sub-Sahara. In the first account of the Rhodesian skull, Smith Woodward1 notes similarity to the “Neanderthal or Mousterian race”, and this theme has been repeated, with qualifications concerning the extent to which African Neanderthals actually resemble their European relatives2–4. Brose and Wolpoff5 lump all African and Eurasian specimens under the heading “Neanderthal”. Following Mourant6, a few recent studies7,8 have cast doubt on the interpretation; these are based on measurement and use distance statistics which show separation between African and European materials but provide little information about important anatomical differences involved. I report here morphological evidence of the distinctiveness of Broken Hill and its relationships to other African remains. Examination of original fossils from Hopefield (Elandsfontein), Florisbad and the Omo as well as Broken Hill reveals a pattern quite unlike that of Neanderthal crania from Europe.

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    Present address: Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch, Cape Province, South Africa


  1. Department of Anthropology, State University of New York, Binghamton, New York, 13901



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