Middle Stone Age human fossils from die Kelders Cave 1, Western Cape Province, South Africa
Journal of Human Evolution 38(1): 129-145
ISSN/ISBN: 0047-2484 PMID: 10627400 DOI: 10.1006/jhev.1999.0353
Die Kelders Cave 1 (DK1) preserves a thick series of Middle Stone Age (MSA) horizons that date to a fairly short temporal interval sometime between about 60 and 80 ka ago. Twenty-seven human fossils, comprising 24 isolated teeth, a mandibular fragment, and two manual middle phalanges derive from seven of the 12 layers. The vast majority are children, and all may have come from sub-adult individuals. The entire assemblage may represent a minimum of ten individuals. As might be expected for teeth of such antiquity, most of the DK1 crowns tend to be large in comparison to recent African homologues. They tend to be smaller than, albeit more similar in size to, the teeth of penecontemporaneous archaic populations from Eurasia. The majority of morphological variants displayed by the DK1 crowns characterize the teeth of recent sub-Saharan Africans, and the DK1 crowns resemble those of recent Africans in a number of traits that have been used to define a sub-Saharan African regional complex. The morphological similarities between the DK1 MSA and recent African teeth, however, do not necessarily signify a close evolutionary relationship between them, because these crowns variants appear to be plesiomorphic.