New study on dental macrowear in Late Pleistocene and recent modern humans published in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology


Our work on the functional relationship between tooth wear inclination and diet in Late Pleistocene and modern human populations was recently published in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. This is the first study that, contrary to previous studies, shows that Paleolithic humans did not have a much harsher diet compared to modern hunter-gatherers. We have actually found that Neanderthals, for example, were characterized by a much ligther tooth wear than Inuit and Bushmen, with steeper wear inclinations, which may indicate the consumption of a less abrasive diet, which could be ultimately due to food preparation techniques that incorporated less dust and grit into their diets.


Our manuscript is now accessible on Early View on the following link:

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ASHB 2017



Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 31st annual meeting of the Australasian Society for Human Biology (ASHB) that was hold not far from Melbourne, in Ballarat. There were many interesting talks, ranging from bioarcheological studies from Southeast Asian populations to palaeonthropology research on Homo floresiensis. We presented a study on the dental macrowear pattern and cortical bone thickness in the Neanderthal mandible from Regourdou (Southwestern France).

It was interesting to see so many HDR students presenting their works, which was pretty impressive. Ballarat was an unusual location (because it is not a capital city), but I think it was an excellent choice. First, this town (the third largest inland city in Australia with a population of over 100,000 inhabitants) has a very rich architecture, with beautiful massive victorian style buildings, built during the gold-rush era. We were quite fortunate to have our conference at the beautiful Craig’s Royal Hotel (that you see in the photo below), built in 1862. Second, the Art Gallery of Ballarat was ruinning a new special exhibition called Romancing the Skull, that focused on how artists depict the human skull through time, and how the skull was used as a symbol for addressing social and political issues. A highly reccommended axhibition.


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New study on cranial variation in red howler monkeys published in the American Journal of Primatology


Our new research on cranial variation on red howler monkeys (Alouatta seniculus), has been recently published in the American Journal of Primatology. Using geometric morphometric methods we suggest that allometry (which describes how the different body parts of an organism change with size) is the main source of variation involved in shaping cranial morphology in howlers, influencing the degree of facial proportions and braincase flattening, and generating the main sexual differences.

Our manuscript is now accessible in Early View using the following link:

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VI Iberian Primatological Conference

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Simultaneously with the 17th International Symposium on Dental Morphology the Spanish and Portoguese Primatological associations organised in Burgos (Spain) the VI Iberian Primatological Conference, where we presented (Dr. Emiliano Bruner) a work on Cranial integration and airorhynchy in Alouatta seniculus.

You can have a look on the program on the following link:

Below a photo of our poster presented by Emiliano Bruner


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17th International Symposium on Dental Morphology


The final stop-over of this long European tour was Bordeaux (France), for the 17th International Symposium on Dental Morphology (ISDM), a great conference with many interesting talks, where I met old and new friends. A great thanks to Dr. Priscilla Bayle who was behind the fabulous organisation of this event.

The venue of the conference was an old monastery reconverted  as an auditorium, definitely a unique place for a scientific meeting!



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A visit to the CENIEH


Last week I had the pleasure to visit the CENIEH, Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana, that is one of the major European research centers on Human Evolution. Is located in Burgos, in the northern Spain, very close to the archaeological site of Atapuerca, a UNESCO World Heritage site, containing human fossil remains from nearly one million till more recent times.


I was kindly invited by Dr. Emiliano Bruner to give a talk on “Imaging and Analysis in Dental Anthropology“, and I also had the opportunity to meet other experts in the field of Dental Anthropology, such as José-María Bermúdez de Castro, Marina Lozano and Alejandro Romero.



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Next to the CENIEH there is also the fantastic Museum of Human Evolution , a beautiful building where are exposed the orginal human fossils from Atapuerca.

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Museum für Naturkunde Berlin


At the beginning of this week I have visited the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin to collect additional orangutan data for our research project on great apes ecology. In particular, I was looking to the Sumatran orangutans, ecologically and morphologically different from Bornean orangutans, and thus considerate a separate species, Pongo abelii. I need to thank Steffen Bock, the collection manager, who helped me during my stay at the museum. A wonderful natural history museum that I suggest you all visit it. See some pics below:

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ESHE 2017


Last week I had the pleasure to attend the 7th Annual Meeting of the European Society for the study of Human Evolution (ESHE) that was held in the beautiful Leiden in the Netherlands.

It was a three intensive-days conference with many interesting talks and posters. We had several contributions:

Luca Fiorenza, Huynh N. Nguyen, Stefano Benazzi. Macrowear and biomechanical analyses of great ape molars.

Almudena Estalrrich, Luca Fiorenza, Ulrike Menz, Antonio Rosas, Ottmar Kullmer. Dental behavior and long-term dietary reconstruction of El Sidrón Neandertals derived from molar macrowear patterns.

Rita Sorrentino, Caterina Minghetti, William Parr, Kevin Turley, Stephen Wroe, Colin Shaw, Jaap Saers, Anne
Su, Luca Fiorenza, Francesco Feletti, Stephen Frost, Kristian J. Carlson, Giovanna M. Belcastro, Timothy Ryan,
Stefano Benazzi. Evaluating behavioral effects on modern human shape tali through GMM.

We were lucky to be in The Stadsgehoorzaal, a beautiful historic building that was chosen by Leiden University for the conference venue. I have attached a couple of photos below.

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The woman of Ostuni


I have had the pleasure to visit the small, but beautiful, prehistoric museum in Ostuni (Museo Civilta’ Preclassiche della Murgia Meridionale, Apulia, Italy), where it is exposed the original skeleton of a young woman and her fetus, known as the Woman of Ostuni, that is dated to 28,000 years ago. The skeleton represents the oldest example of Paleolithic pregnant human female, who may have died due to problems during the pregnancy. Analysis of the fetal remains was published on Scientific Reports this year (link) and revealed an age-of-death at 31-33 gestational weeks.

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The major goal of the Palaeodiet Research Lab is a better understanding of the relationship between diet, cranio-dental morphology, ecology and evolution in modern humans, our closest living relatives (monkeys and apes) and our extinct ancestors.



The research interests of the Palaeodiet Research Lab mostly focus on functional morphology of the masticatory apparatus in human and non-human primates, and on the importance of the role of diet in human evolution.



The Palaeodiet Research Lab is a highly multidisciplinary and dynamic team that investigates important biological questions related to humans in an evolutionary context.