OH 83: A new early modern human fossil cranium from the Ndutu beds of Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

Journal article
(Original article)

Publication Details

Author(s): Reiner WB, Masao F, Sholts SB, Songita AV, Stanistreet I, Stollhofen H, Taylor RE, Hlusko LJ
Journal: American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Publisher: Wiley-Liss Inc.
Publication year: 2017
Volume: 164
Journal issue: 3
Pages range: 533-545
ISSN: 0002-9483
Language: English


Objective: Herein we introduce a newly recovered partial calvaria, OH 83, from the upper Ndutu

Beds of Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. We present the geological context of its discovery and a comparative analysis of its morphology, placing OH 83 within the context of our current

understanding of the origins and evolution of Homo sapiens.

Materials and methods: We comparatively assessed the morphology of OH 83 using quantitative

and qualitative data from penecontemporaneous fossils and the W.W. Howells modern human

craniometric dataset.

Results: OH 83 is geologically dated to ca. 60–32 ka. Its morphology is indicative of an early modern human, falling at the low end of the range of variation for post-orbital cranial breadth, the high end of the range for bifrontal breadth, and near average in frontal length.

Discussion: There have been numerous attempts to use cranial anatomy to define the species

Homo sapiens and identify it in the fossil record. These efforts have not met wide agreement by

the scientific community due, in part, to the mosaic patterns of cranial variation represented by

the fossils. The variable, mosaic pattern of trait expression in the crania of Middle and Late Pleistocene fossils implies that morphological modernity did not occur at once. However, OH 83

demonstrates that by ca. 60–32 ka modern humans in Africa included individuals that are at the

fairly small and gracile range of modern human cranial variation.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Stollhofen, Harald Prof. Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Geologie (Exogene Dynamik)

External institutions with authors

Smithsonian Institution
The University of Liverpool
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Riverside (UCR)
University of Dar es Salaam

Research Fields

Climate & palaeoenvironment
Lehrstuhl für Geologie (Exogene Dynamik)
Climate and Resources
Research focus area of a faculty: Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät

How to cite

Reiner, W.B., Masao, F., Sholts, S.B., Songita, A.V., Stanistreet, I., Stollhofen, H.,... Hlusko, L.J. (2017). OH 83: A new early modern human fossil cranium from the Ndutu beds of Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 164(3), 533-545. https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23292

Reiner, Whitney B., et al. "OH 83: A new early modern human fossil cranium from the Ndutu beds of Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania." American Journal of Physical Anthropology 164.3 (2017): 533-545.


Last updated on 2018-20-12 at 13:51