Research press release





今回、Katerina Harvatiたちの研究グループは、現在利用可能な最大の化石データセット(約8万~2万年前のものと年代決定された)の試料800点以上を用いて、ネアンデルタール人と後期旧石器時代の現生人類の頭部外傷を集団レベルで比較した。Harvatiたちは、それぞれの事例について、頭蓋外傷の存否、性別、死亡年齢、骨格の保存状態、および発掘地点を記録し、集団間で頭蓋外傷の受傷率の違いを評価した。その結果、ネアンデルタール人と後期旧石器時代の現生人類の間に頭蓋外傷受傷率の差はないが、いずれの集団においても男性の方が女性より受傷率が高いことが明らかになった。Harvatiたちによれば、このような差は、性特異的な行動と活動によって説明可能だとしている。


Neanderthals and Upper Palaeolithic modern humans who lived 80,000 to 20,000 years ago experienced similar levels of head trauma, reports a paper published online this week in Nature. These findings challenge the stereotype that Neanderthals lived more violent lives.

Although Neanderthals are commonly depicted as leading more dangerous lives than contemporaneous modern humans, evidence for this is largely anecdotal and consists of case studies of injured Neanderthal skeletons, rather than quantitative population-level studies. In addition, these cases were often compared to present-day rather than contemporaneous modern human injuries.

Katerina Harvati and colleagues conducted a population-level comparison of head injuries in Neanderthals and Upper Palaeolithic modern humans using the largest fossil dataset that is currently available (dating to roughly 80,000 to 20,000 years ago), which contains over 800 samples. The authors recorded the presence of skull trauma, sex, age at death, skeleton preservation, and location for each case, and assessed differences in skull trauma prevalence between the groups. They report no difference in injury rates between Neanderthals and Upper Palaeolithic modern humans, although males in both groups displayed greater frequencies of injuries than females. This difference could be explained by sex-specific behaviours and activities, according to the authors.

There were higher skull trauma incidences among young Neanderthal skeletons, whereas Upper Palaeolithic modern humans maintained consistent injury rates across age groups. The authors suggest this may reflect differences in age-related risk of injury and in post-injury survival rates between the two groups.

doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0696-8

「Nature 関連誌注目のハイライト」は、ネイチャー広報部門が報道関係者向けに作成したリリースを翻訳したものです。より正確かつ詳細な情報が必要な場合には、必ず原著論文をご覧ください。

メールマガジンリストの「Nature 関連誌今週のハイライト」にチェックをいれていただきますと、毎週最新のNature 関連誌のハイライトを皆様にお届けいたします。