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

Reiner WB, Masao F, Sholts SB, Songita AV, Stanistreet I, Stollhofen H, Taylor RE, Hlusko LJ (2017)

Publication Language: English

Publication Status: Published

Publication Type: Journal article, Original article

Publication year: 2017


Publisher: Wiley-Liss Inc.

Book Volume: 164

Pages Range: 533-545

Journal Issue: 3

DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.23292


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.

Authors with CRIS profile

Related research project(s)

Involved external institutions

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://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.

BibTeX: Download