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Main anatomical characteristics of the hominin fossil humeri from the Sima de los Huesos Middle Pleistocene site, Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain: An update.

Some of the Sima de los Huesos (SH) humeri have been previously studied and described elsewhere. Here we present an updated inventory and a review of the specimens recovered to the present day. The morphological key traits of the adult and subadult specimens are described, discussed, and illustrated. The SH humeri share with Neandertals many traits usually considered to be Neandertal specializations, thus, most of this morphological pattern is not exclusive to them. The variation found within fossil samples stresses the frequential nature of all these traits and in the specific case of the SH humeri, most of the traits considered as phylogenetically relevant are retained by their descendants, the Neandertals. Some traits are plesiomorphic for the entire genus Homo or are present in European hominins since the early Pleistocene. Finally, some other traits display high variability within the SH sample or different hominin samples and are of uncertain phylogenetic value. Altogether, this evidence is consistent with the hypothesis based on the overall cranial and postcranial morphology that the SH hominins are a sister group to the later Neandertals.

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