Sites & cities that bear the name of Obi-Rakhmat Grotto

Obi-Rakhmat Grotto

Today in : Uzbekistan
First trace of activity : ca. 90,000 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 60,000 B.C.E
Recorded names : غار آب رحمت

Description : The Obi-Rakhmat Grotto is a Middle Paleolithic prehistoric site that yielded Neanderthal fossils. It is a shallow karst cave near the junction of the Chatkal and Pskem Rivers at the southwestern end of the Talassky Alatau Range in the Tien Shan Mountains, 100 km (62 mi) northeast of Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Six isolated permanent teeth were found. They consisted of an upper lateral incisor, upper third premolar, upper fourth premolar, upper first molar, and an upper second molar, as well as 121 cranial fragments. All of the teeth found had complete crowns with developed roots. The varying size of the roots in each tooth make it difficult to determine if they are damaged, or the length they are because of development. It was determined that all of the pieces belonged to a 9-12-year-old juvenile. The sex of this particular fossil remains unknown. The teeth found have Neanderthal features, as some of them show Taurodontism, which is primarily found in the Neanderthal morphology. Studies of the pieces of cranium found are more ambiguous and harder to link to Neanderthals. The Parietal bone has a stronger likeness to anatomically modern humans, while other bones of the skull can be linked to Neanderthal craniums. Most researchers believe that this particular fossil is a Neanderthal because of the analysis of its dentition. The Obi-Rakhmat fossil expresses a relatively Neanderthal-like dentition coupled with more ambiguous cranial anatomy (e.g., its parietal size and aspects of the external surface of its temporal) that does not conform to existing descriptions of sub-adult Neanderthals. It represents an individual of roughly 9 to 12 years of age at death, estimated from the examination of relative root development and degree of dental wear. The sub-adult bone yielded non-calibrated dates ranging from 29,990 ± 500 years BP to 37,800 ± 450 years BP. To date, the best chronological estimate for the hominid remains from Obi-Rakhmat is ca. 60,000 to 90,000 years BP and 70,000 years BP.

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