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Unformatted text preview: econstructing
the demography of ancient populations is tricky business, however. For one thing, whole populations are never preserved in
the fossil record. Rather paleontologists tend to recover fragments of individuals. For another, early humans did not necessarily mature at the same rate as modern humans. In fact, maturation rates differ even among contemporary human populations. But a handful of sites have yielded high enough numbers
of human fossils in the same layers of sediment that scientists
can confidently assess the age at death of the remains—which
is key to understanding the makeup of a prehistoric group.
A rock-shelter located in the town of Krapina in Croatia, about 40 kilometers northwest of the city of Zagreb, is one such
site. More than a century ago Croatian paleontologist Dragutin
Gorjanovi´-Kramberger excavated and described the fragmenc
tary remains of perhaps as many as 70 Neandertal individuals
there, most of which came from a layer dated to about 130,000
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- Spring '12