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Pluridisciplinary evidence for burial for the La Ferrassie 8 Neandertal child

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Talamo,  Sahra
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

Daujeard,  Camille
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

Guérin,  Guillaume
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Welker,  Frido
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

Crevecoeur,  Isabelle
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Fewlass,  Helen
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Hublin,  Jean-Jacques
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

Lahaye,  Christelle
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

Maureille,  Bruno
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Meyer,  Matthias
Advanced DNA Sequencing Techniques, Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

Schwab,  Catherine
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

Gómez-Olivencia,  Asier
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Balzeau, A., Turq, A., Talamo, S., Daujeard, C., Guérin, G., Welker, F., et al. (2020). Pluridisciplinary evidence for burial for the La Ferrassie 8 Neandertal child. Scientific Reports, 10: 21230. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-77611-z.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-E455-8
Abstract
The origin of funerary practices has important implications for the emergence of so-called modern cognitive capacities and behaviour. We provide new multidisciplinary information on the archaeological context of the La Ferrassie 8 Neandertal skeleton (grand abri of La Ferrassie, Dordogne, France), including geochronological data -14C and OSL-, ZooMS and ancient DNA data, geological and stratigraphic information from the surrounding context, complete taphonomic study of the skeleton and associated remains, spatial information from the 1968–1973 excavations, and new (2014) fieldwork data. Our results show that a pit was dug in a sterile sediment layer and the corpse of a two-year-old child was laid there. A hominin bone from this context, identified through Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS) and associated with Neandertal based on its mitochondrial DNA, yielded a direct 14C age of 41.7–40.8 ka cal BP (95%), younger than the 14C dates of the overlying archaeopaleontological layers and the OSL age of the surrounding sediment. This age makes the bone one of the most recent directly dated Neandertals. It is consistent with the age range for the Châtelperronian in the site and in this region and represents the third association of Neandertal taxa to Initial Upper Palaeolithic lithic technocomplex in Western Europe. A detailed multidisciplinary approach, as presented here, is essential to advance understanding of Neandertal behavior, including funerary practices.