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Unformatted text preview: o. The large number of fossils found close to one another, the apparently rapid accumulation of the sediments at the
site and the fact that some of the remains share distinctive, genetically determined features all indicate that the Krapina
bones approximate the remains of a single population of Neandertals. As often happens in the fossil record, the best-preserved
remains at Krapina are teeth because the high mineral content
of teeth protects them from degradation. Fortunately, teeth are
also one of the best skeletal elements for determining age at
death, which is achieved by analyzing surface wear and age-related changes in their internal structure.
In 1979, before I began my research into the evolution of
grandparents, Milford H. Wolpoff of the University of Michigan
at Ann Arbor published a paper, based on dental remains, that
assessed how old the Krapina Neandertals were when they
died. Molar teeth erupt sequentially. Using one of the fastest
eruption schedules observed in modern-day humans as a guide,
Wolpoff estimated that the first, second and third molars of Neandertals erupted at ages that rounded to six, 12 and 15, respectivel...
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- Spring '12