Late Neandertals in Southeastern Iberia: Sima de las Palomas del Cabezo Gordo, Murcia, Spain

Michael J. Walker, Josep Gibert, Mariano V. Lopez, A. Vincent Lombardi, Alejandro Perez-Perez, Josefina Zapata, Jon Ortega, Thomas Higham, Alistair Pike, Jean-Luc Schwenninger, Joao Zilhao, Erik Trinkaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Middle Paleolithic fossil human remains from the Sima de las Palomas in southeastern Iberia (dated to <= 43,000-40,000 calendar years before present) present a suite of derived Neandertal and/or retained ancestral morphological features in the mandibular symphysis, mandibular ramus, dental occlusal morphology, and distal hand phalanx. These traits are combined with variation in the mandibular corpus, discrete dental morphology, tooth root lengths, and anterior dental size that indicate a frequency difference with earlier Iberian and more northern European Neandertals. The Palomas Neandertals therefore confirm the late presence of Neandertals associated with the Iberian persistence of the Middle Paleolithic, but suggest microevolutionary processes and/or population contact with contemporaneous modern humans to the north.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20631-20636
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number52
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2008

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