Neandertal noses : a descriptive and comparative analysis of the nasal morphology of the Krapina and Vindija Neandertals
Yokley, Todd R.
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In a recent study, Schwartz and Tattersall outlined a series of proposed autapomorphic features for the internal nasal region of Neandertals. These features include the presence of an internal nasal margin with a medial projection, the medial expansion of the nasal cavity wall into the posterior portion of the nasal cavity, and an exposed lacrimal groove. Based on the Schwartz and Tattersall study, others have further suggested that the arrangement of crests of the inferior portion of the nasal aperture is uniquely derived in Neandertals. Schwartz and Tattersall noted the presence of these features in a small sample of Neandertals from Western Europe. Excluded from their study, perhaps because of their fragmentary nature, were Neandertal specimens from the Croatian sites of Krapina and Vindija. The present study is designed as a descriptive and comparative analysis of the nasal morphology of the Krapina and Vindija Neandertals with an emphasis on the features presented by Schwartz and Tattersall. Detailed descriptions of the nasal morphology of the Krapina and Vindija specimens are provided and comparisons are made between the two collections. Where applicable, expression of the proposed autapomorphic features was observed on the Krapina and Vindija specimens. Patterns of cresting in the lower part of the nasal aperture were documented for both samples. The internal nasal morphology of an extensive modem sample from the skeletal collections at the Field Museum in Chicago was also documented and compared to the morphology of the Krapina and Vindija Neandertal samples. The results of this analysis are inconsistent with those of the Schwartz and Tattersall study. The morphology of several of the Krapina and Vindija specimens falls within the range of variation present in the modem sample. Thus, after increasing the sample to include specimens from Krapina and Vindija, the three traits proposed by Schwartz and Tattersall are rejected as Neandertal autapomorphies. The nasal cresting patterns of Krapina and Vindija differ from specimens analyzed in the Schwartz and Tattersall study as well as from each other. Therefore, the claim of an autapomorphic Neandertal cresting pattern is rejected as well.