Supporting Figures & Video
(Figure 1 right):
Team members in the ESRF experimental hutch with the 90-100,000 year old Israeli Homo sapiens skull from Qafzeh Cave (center). This remarkable 5.1 year-old was found buried at the feet of an adult female, and it is believed to be one of the earliest instances of intentional burial.
Below is a 3D Animation of what the synchrotron revealed inside the child.
Multi-scale synchrotron imaging of the 90-100,000 year old fossil Homo sapiens child from Qafzeh Cave in Israel. The lower jaw was scanned at 31 micron voxel size, and shows the deciduous dentition, erupted permanent first molar, and developing tooth germs inside the jaw. The close-up of the first molar (7.5 micron voxel size) shows horizontal growth lines (perikymata) on the outside of the tooth and marked internal growth lines (as well as chemical modification after death). The tiny 1 mm by 1 mm cube of enamel (scanned with 0.7 micron voxel size) shows the fundamental rod-like building blocks of tooth enamel (enamel prisms), and fine banding that represents daily growth lines (cross-striations). The skeleton was originally found at the feet of an adult female skeleton, and is believed to be one of the earliest instances of intentional burial. Fossil courtesy of the Department of Anatomy and Anthropology (Tel Aviv University) and Rockefeller Museum (Tel Aviv). Video credit: Paul Tafforeau (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) and Tanya Smith (Harvard University and Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology).
(Figure 2 right:)
State-of-the-art synchrotron imaging of the tiny upper jaw (maxilla) of the Engis 2 Neanderthal allows scientists to virtually isolate the permanent teeth inside the bone (center image), count tiny growth lines inside the first molar teeth (lower image), and determine that it died at age 3.
Below is a 3D animation revealing how the individual’s age was determined.
Multi-scale synchrotron imaging of the 30-50,000 year old Neanderthal child from Engis Cave in Belgium. The upper jaw (maxilla) and lower first molar were scanned at 31 micron voxel size. The permanent teeth are visible inside the maxilla, and are virtually sectioned to show the degree of development at the time of death. The close-up of the upper first molar (5 micron voxel size) shows different variables used to calculate the age at death, as well as growth lines (perikymata) on the outside of the tooth. The 1 mm by 1 mm cube of enamel (scanned with 0.7 micron voxel size) shows long-period growth lines (Retzius lines) running to the tooth surface on the right, and fine banding that represents daily growth lines (used to determine the number of days between Retzius lines, also known as the periodicity). This information can only be obtain from the inside of a tooth, and allows scientists to determine that the individual died at precisely 3 years of age. Fossil courtesy of the Université de Liège. Video credits: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Paul Tafforeau (ESRF), and Tanya Smith (Harvard University and MPI-EVA).
(Figure 3 right)
Scientists Paul Tafforeau (ESRF), Tanya Smith (Harvard University & MPI-EVA), and Jean-Jacques Hublin (MPI-EVA).
Scientists Paul Tafforeau (ESRF), Tanya Smith (Harvard University & MPI-EVA), and Jean-Jacques Hublin (MPI-EVA) position the upper jaw (maxilla) of the Le Moustier 1 juvenile Neanderthal before passing powerful X-rays through the fossil to see inside its’ teeth. Modern human developmental models suggested that this individual would have been 15-16 years of age, while the current study demonstrates that this 11.6-12.1 year old individual matured more rapidly than modern humans.
Virtual imaging of a 30-90,000 year old tooth from Equus Cave, South Africa scanned with synchrotron imaging (16 micron voxel size). Cross-sectional slices beginning at the top of the tooth reveal the enamel (light-colored tissue), internal dentine (darker tissue), and subtle microcracks in the fossil lower first molar. Sophisticated engineering software is used to reconstruct the three-dimensional shape of the tooth, and to segment (separate) and measure the volume of the enamel (colored yellow) and dentine (colored blue). The final images reveal the three-dimensional distribution of tooth enamel, which grades from relatively thin (yellow) to thick (red). Video credit: Paul Tafforeau (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) and Tanya Smith (Harvard University and Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology).