Anthropological Study of Mesolithic Findings from Mayak: An Example of Dental Morphology Diversity

DOI: 10.14673/HE2016121017

Published in Human Evolution – Vol. 31 – n.1-2 – 2016

Key words: Paleoanthropology, odontology, dental morphology, Mesolithic, Mid-Volga.


The Upper Palaeolithic period in the Levant is divided into three chronological stages: Initial (IUP), Early (EUP) and Late (LUP). While the Initial stage is the interphase between the Middle and the Upper Paleolithic periods, it was during the EUP that modern human populations fully established them-selves in the region. The EUP consists of two techno-complex-es, the local Ahmarian tradition, and the Levantine Aurigna-cian, conceived as an intrusive culture from Europe.

Recent excavations at Manot Cave in western Galilee, Israel, have exposed rich Ahmarian and Aurignacian remains. The Ahmarian remains were found at the center of the cave su-perimposed by Aurignacian layers. They are characterized by long and narrow uni-and-bidirectional blades produced by soft hammer percussion. The tools consist of retouched blades, end scrapers and burins on blades and el-Wad points. These have been radiocarbon dated to 46-42 ka cal BP (68%). The Le-vantine Aurignacian remains, currently the dominant techno-complex at Manot, were recorded at the entrance and center of the cave. Distinctive finds include carinated and nosed end scrapers, Aurignacian blades, curved-twisted bladelets and ant-ler spear points. The radiocarbon ages of the Aurignacian layers at the entrance and center of the cave range from between 39-33 ka cal BP (68%). The EUP at Manot is represented by faunal, botanical and shell remains. The faunal assemblages consist of large-medium (ungulates) and small (birds and reptiles) game. The charred/wood remains comprise species indicating a Medi-terranean forest environment. Notably, a relatively fair amount of sea shells were recovered from the EUP contexts, some were used as personal ornaments and others consumed as food. The EUP sequence at Manot starts with the Ahmarian, followed by a repetitive Aurignacian exploitation of the cave until ca. 30 ka, which is the estimated time of the collapse of the cave entrance.

Khaldeeva, N.I.
Vasilyev, S.V.
Kharlamova, N.V.

Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology,
Russian Academy of Sciences,
Leninskiy pr. 32a,
119991 Moscow,

The Development of the Communication System of Chimpanzees during Ontogenesis

DOI: 10.14673/HE2015341008
Published in Human Evolution – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2015

Key words: communication complexes, chimpanzees, ontogenesis, communication systems.

The objective of this study was to compare the communication processes of young and adult chimpanzees, to establish how the development of communication modes in the ontogenesis of these primates unfolds and to determine possible preconditions for the origin of hominid speech in the course of anthropogenesis.
Systems of communication were studied in 9 chimpanzees: 3 adult females, 3 adult males, and 3 young chimpanzees. The chimpanzees were from the Saint Petersburg zoo and the laboratory for the physiology of primate behaviour at the Pavlov Institute of Physiology in the village of Koltushi in the Leningrad region.
Communicative behaviour was observed with the use of specially devised matrices that considered virtually all elements of communication (facial expressions, postures, gestures, tactile elements, acoustic signals etc.).
The author discovered that communication in chimpanzees serves as a very important mechanism for increasing the sociability of group members. The most significant elements were those that belonged to friendly contexts conveyed via acoustic and visual communication channels. Friendly gestures were accompanied by friendly sounds, connection between friendly visual and acoustic communication strengthened. In aggressive contexts, the author noted harmonic sounds, and in friendly ones, mixed articulatory sounds like ‘ah’, ‘oh’, ‘ooh’. The elements of communication complexes were not very variable and were used as established communication units. The communication process was quite labile and the communicative systems were characterized by great individual variability.

Vasilyev, S.V.
Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology,  
Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninskiy pr. 32a, 119991 Moscow, Russia.

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The Population of Polotsk in the 17-18th Centuries According to Anthropological Data

DOI: 10.14673/IJA201511003
Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.1 – 2015

Key words: paleoanthropology, craniology, osteology, skeletal proportions, bone robusticity, Polotsk, Belarus.

The objective of our research was the complex study of the 17- 18th century palaeoanthropological series of specimens from Polotsk. The specimens were obtained as a result of archaeological excavations in the territory of the Polotsk fortified settlement. These excavations yielded the skeletal remains of 48 human skeletons in various conditions. The craniological specimens from the burials represent 43 skulls: 14 male, 10 female and 19 children, 20 of which (14 male and 6 female) turned out to be suitable for measuring in accordance with the craniometric program. We also measured and subsequently analysed postcranial skeletons on the basis of robusticity and hardness indices of the long bones of arms and legs. We selected 21 skeletons of adult subjects for our osteometric study. We mea- sured 13 male and 8 female postcranial skeletons.
We have established morphological similarity between the Polotsk population and the rural population of Lukoml, which denotes genetic relations between the townsmen and the local population of the Polotsk vicinity.
The average value of intravital body length in males was 165.9 cm. and in females 155.4 cm. Males were more often characterized by a comparatively shortened forearm compared to the shoulder, according to the value of the brachial index. The male group were characterized by very flattened radii with a well pronounced interosseous crest. The females, on the contrary, had slightly flattened bones with a not very pronounced interosseous crest.

Borutskaya, S.B.
Department of Anthropology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.

Vasilyev, S.V.
Department of Physical Anthropology,
N.N. Miklukho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology,
The Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia.

Yemialyanchyk V.A.
Department of National and World History,
Polotsk State University, Polotsk, Republic of Belarus.

Ecological Adaptations of the Kola Peninsula Neolithic People: Postcranial Morphology and Paleopathology

DOI: 10.14673/IJA201511001
Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.1 (1-19) – 2015

Key words: paleopathology, caries, enamel hypoplasia, cold stress.

To examine biological adaptations to northern latitudes in Neolithic human populations of the Kola Peninsula, we compared the skeleton proportions, bone robusticity and pathological changes of the Bolshoy Oleniy Island skeletal series with those of Sami from the 19-20th centuries, who occupied the northern Kola Peninsula. The burial ground on Bolshoy Oleniy Island in the Barents sea dates to around 3500 years ago. The specific values of body length parameters and proportion indices of the extremities, suggest that the Sami people were better adapted to the environment of the Far North than the Bolshoy Oleniy islanders. On the other hand, the extremities of the Bolshoy Oleniy islanders were much longer than those of the Sami people of the Kola Peninsula.
Porosity of the skull cap, facial skeleton and postcranial bones, periodontitis with enamel hypoplasia, and traces of traumas and periostitis of the shin bones were typical pathologies of the skeletons of the Oleniy island people, as well as the Sami. A characteristic feature, however, of the Oleniy Island people’s health was a nearly 100% absence of caries. The Sami of the northern Kola Peninsula evidenced much more frequent dentoalveolar pathologies. One third of the individuals buried on Bolshoy Oleniy Island had markers of childhood rickets on their bones. Diseases affecting both the Oleniy Island people and the Sami were most likely caused by a low level of insolation and the resulting deficiency in vitamin D production, as well as cold stress, a lack of vegetables in their diet, and hence, the lack of necessary vitamins.

Vasilyev, S.V.
Head of the Department of Physical Anthropology,N.N.Miklukho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninsky Prospekt, 32а, Moscow, Russia.

Borutskaya, S.B.
Chair of Anthropology,
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory, 1, Building, 12, Moscow, Russia.