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50.4 MB (50.0 MB compressed)
4724 x 3729 pixels
39.9 x 31.5 cm ⏐ 15.7 x 12.4 in (300dpi)
JAVIER TRUEBA / MSF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAVIER TRUEBA / MSF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Hominin skull. Cranium 14 (immature, known as Benjamina) from the Sima de los Huesos (Pit of Bones) site, Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain. Thousand of bones and bone fragments, from at least 28 individuals, have been excavated from the site since its discovery in 1984. Skulls from the site, which date to the middle Pleistocene around 430,000 years ago, exhibit a mixture of Neanderthal and more primitive features. The teeth and jaw and facial bones are Neanderthal-like, while the cranium is primitive. This suggests that characteristic Neanderthal features evolved separately from each other, an evolutionary model known as the accretion model. This skull belongs to a child that died around 10-12 years old. It shows the earliest known example of craniosynostosis, the premature closure of one of more cranial sutures, which causes a deformity of the skull.
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