Sawyer & Maley Neanderthal Reconstruction Abstract

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Homo neanderthalensis Skeleton Reconstruction, SC-019

The following is information supplied by Sawyer & Maley which helps explain the reconstruction:


A century and a half of controversy concerning the differences between Neanderthals and modern humans has left us with many questions and no sign of abatement. One of these remaining questions concerns the articulated structure of the Neanderthal skeleton and how it compares to that of a modern human. Although this question has been tackled many times by more artistic avenues, never has been systematically constructed, a complete, fully articulated Neanderthal skeleton using castings from real Neanderthal bones. In an attempt to give us a better understanding of Neanderthal stature and biomechanics, a complete Neanderthal skeleton was reconstructed and articulated. This reconstruction was primarily based on the La Ferrassie 1 specimen, with missing or incomplete elements filled in from other Neanderthal cast collections.

The Sawyer & Maley Neanderthal was constructed using original casts from the following Neanderthal specimens:

La Ferrassie 1
La Chapelle aux Saints
Saccopastore 1
Shanidar 5
Spy 1
Kebara 2

The Skeletal Reconstruction:

The cranium and mandible are primarily from La Ferrassie 1 with additional transplanted elements from La Chapelle aux Saints, Saccopastore 1, Shanidar 5, and Spy 1.

The mandible is from La Ferrassie 1, with the exception of the right condyle which was transplanted from La Chapelle aux Saint.

From Kebara 2.

The pelvis is a complicated mosaic drawn from three distinct Neanderthal specimens. The sacrum, right ilium and ischium are from Kebara 2. The left ilium and ischium are from Feldhofer, while all bony sections of the pubis, including the left iliopubic ramus and the right ischiopubic ramus are from La Ferrassie 1.

Cervical Vertebrae: All seven cervical vertebrae come from La Ferrassie
Thoracic Vertebrae: All thoracic vertebrae are from Kebara, with all spinous processes, transverse processes and bodies mostly intact, although, some modeling had to be done due to minor surface detail loss on the anterior bodies.
Lumbar Vertebrae: All lumbar vertebrae are from Kebara 2, with slight reconstruction of the posterior spinous processes of L2-L5.
Ribs: All ribs are from Kebara 2.
Sternum: Manubrium and first segment of the sternal body are from Kebara 2.
Clavicles: From La Ferrassie 1. A small amount of modeling was done on the lateral clavicular facet of the right clavicle.
Scapula: La Ferrassie 1 and Kebara 2 hybrid.

Long bones:

Right: Mainly from La Ferrassie 1 with the proximal end (from the surgical neck up) a transplant from Feldhofer.
Left: From La Ferrassie 1 with modeled aspects of proximal end, trochlear anterior edge and medial epichondyle from the original La Ferrassie 1 reconstruction.

Radius and Ulna: Both right and left are from La Ferrassie 1. Modeled parts of the distal ends, as well as the medial trochlear notch area from the right ulna, were modeled from the original La Ferrassie 1 reconstruction.

Right: From La Ferrassie 1, with transplants to the superior anterior greater trochanter and femoral condyles from Feldhofer, whose shaft diameter closely mirrored that of La Ferrassie 1. Elements of the greater trochanter and inferior half of femoral head were modeled to match existing morphology.
Left: Mainly La Ferrassie 1, with distal section transplant (from just above the adductor tubercle through the femoral condyles) from Feldhofer. Greater trochanter and inferior half of femoral head were modeled to match existing morphology.

Right: From modern human cast.
Left: From La Chappelle aux Saints. 

Right: From La Ferrassie 1, the proximal 1/4 of tibia was modeled after the left Spy 1 tibia.
Left: From La Ferrassie 1, with a proximal tibia transplant from Spy.

Hands: Mixture of La Ferrassie 1, Kebara 2, and robust modern humans.

Feet: Mixture of La Ferrassie 1 and robust modern human.