Une reconstitution surprenante d’un fossile humain : la mandibule magdalénienne du crâne d’enfant Rochereil III

Bertrand MAFART

fr Comptes Rendus Palevol 8 (4) - Pages 403-412

Published on 30 June 2009

A surprising reconstitution of a human fossil: The Magdalenian mandible of the child's skull Rochereil III

The fragmented pathological skull of a young child was discovered in a Magdalenian level in the Rochereil cave, Dordogne, France, in 1939. The bony fragments were extracted along with the surrounding soil, and completely cleaned in a laboratory. The mandible has been wrongly reconstructed. Among the nine teeth that are present on the mandible, three deciduous molars are human teeth at their correct places. Only one tooth in the incisor–canine block (the right deciduous lateral incisor) is a human tooth, but it is incorrectly positioned on the left side. The other incisors and canines implanted in this child's mandible originated from one or several young adult reindeer. These small animal teeth were probably mistaken for human pathological teeth because the child's skull and mandible showed several pathological lesions. The possibility of faulty reconstitution must be systematically considered when dealing with for all human fossils which have been discovered in the past.


Mandible, Child, Reconstitution, Paleopathology, Reindeer, Prehistory

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