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The earliest toothless hominin skull


The site of Dmanisi in the Eurasian republic of Georgia has yielded striking hominin, faunal and archaeological material as evidence for the presence of early Homo outside Africa 1.77 million years ago, documenting an important episode in human evolution. Here we describe a beautifully preserved skull and jawbone from a Dmanisi hominin of this period who had lost all but one tooth several years before death. This specimen not only represents the earliest case of severe masticatory impairment in the hominin fossil record to be discovered so far, but also raises questions about alternative subsistence strategies in early Homo.

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Figure 1: Edentulous hominin skull from Dmanisi, Georgia.


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Correspondence to David Lordkipanidze.

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Lordkipanidze, D., Vekua, A., Ferring, R. et al. The earliest toothless hominin skull. Nature 434, 717–718 (2005).

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