|Who are the Fontéchevade hominins?|
The Fontéchevade hominins were published in 1958 by Henri Vallois. For Vallois, the two specimens provided the best piece of evidence for the Pre-Sapiens interpretation of hominid evolution. Given their archaeological context, the specimens were at least contemporary with and possibly even earlier than the Classic Neandertals, yet Vallois thought the specimens showed modern traits. Particularly important were the lack of well defined brow ridges on FC I and the apparent lack of a postorbital constriction on FC II.
|More recently, Trinkaus (1973) reexamined the
fossils and concluded that they are too fragmentary and too problematic to classify as
either Neandertals or early moderns.
Trinkaus argues that FC I can be interpreted as a Neandertal child as well as a Pre-Sapiens adult based on the dimensions of the frontal sinus, the interorbital breadth, and the frontal squamous thickness. FC I, however, is too fragmentary to rule out either interpretation.
Though Vallois noted a number of archaic features on the more complete FC II, he argued that when the brow is reconstructed from the partial frontal, it lacks the postorbital constriction typical of Neandertals. It appears, however, that not enough of the frontal is preserved for such a reconstruction. Alternate, and more Neandertal-like, reconstructions are possible from the same fragment (Trinkaus 1973).