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New foot remains from the Gran Dolina-TD6 Early Pleistocene site (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain).
Pablos A, Lorenzo C, Martínez I, Bermúdez de Castro JM, Martinón-Torres M, Carbonell E, Arsuaga JL. J Hum Evol. 2012 Aug 23.
This paper presents and describes new foot fossils from the species Homo antecessor, found in level TD6 of the site of Gran Dolina (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain). These new fossils consist of an almost complete left talus (ATD6-95) and the proximal three-quarters of a right fourth metatarsal (ATD6-124). The talus ATD6-95 is tentatively assigned to Hominin 10 of the TD6 sample, an adult male specimen with which the second metatarsal ATD6-70+107 (already published) is also tentatively associated. Analysis of these fossils and other postcranial remains has made possible to estimate a stature similar to those of the specimens from the Middle Pleistocene site of Sima de los Huesos (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain). The morphology of the TD6 metatarsals does not differ significantly from that of modern humans, Neanderthals and the specimens from Sima de los Huesos. Talus ATD6-95, however, differs from the rest of the comparative samples in being long and high, having a long and wide trochlea, and displaying a proportionally short neck.
Hominid remains found in 1994 from the stratified Gran Dolina karst-filling at the Atapuerca site in NE Spain were dated to somewhat greater than 780 ka based on palaeomagnetic measurements, making these the oldest known hominids in Europe (sensu stricto). We report new ESR and U-series results on teeth from four levels of the Gran Dolina deposit which confirm the palaeomagnetic evidence, and indicate that TD6 (from which the human remains have been recovered) dates to the end of the Early Pleistocene. The results for the other levels are consistent with estimates based mainly on microfaunal evidence, and suggest that TD8, TD10 and TD11 date to the Middle Pleistocene.