Matthew M. Skinner

Matthew M. Skinner
University of Kent | KENT · School of Anthropology and Conservation

PhD

About

149
Publications
59,793
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4,446
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2011 - October 2014
University College London
Position
  • Lecturer

Publications

Publications (149)
Article
Full-text available
Northern Europe experienced cycles of hominin habitation and absence during the Middle Pleistocene. Fluvial gravel terrace sites in the east of Britain and north of France provide a majority of the data contributing to this understanding, mostly through the presence or absence of stone-tool artefacts. To date, however, relatively few sites have bee...
Article
The calcar femorale is an internal bony structure of the proximal femur considered to be functionally related to bipedal locomotion. Among extant primates, the presence of a calcar femorale has been so far documented in extant humans and Pan and, among extinct hominins, in the Late Miocene Orrorin, in a Pliocene Australopithecus, and in a Middle Pl...
Article
Full-text available
The Pleistocene presence of the genus Homo in continental Southeast Asia is primarily evidenced by a sparse stone tool record and rare human remains. Here we report a Middle Pleistocene hominin specimen from Laos, with the discovery of a molar from the Tam Ngu Hao 2 (Cobra Cave) limestone cave in the Annamite Mountains. The age of the fossil-bearin...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Tooth crown morphology plays a critical role in primate systematics, notably to make taxonomic assessments and to reconstruct the evolutionary history of hominids and hominins in particular. Compared with the outer enamel surface, which can be affected by wear and various taphonomic processes, the enamel-dentine junction (EDJ) is generally better p...
Article
Full-text available
The trabecular bone morphology of adult extant primates has been shown to reflect mechanical loading related to locomotion. However, ontogenetic studies of humans and other mammals suggest an adaptive lag between trabecular bone response and current mechanical loading patterns that could result in adult trabecular bone morphology reflecting juvenil...
Article
The morphology of the proximal carpals (scaphoid, lunate, triquetrum) are linked to the range of motion (ROM) at the radiocarpal and midcarpal joints. While the relationship between ROM and habitual locomotor mode is well established, it has yet to be investigated whether relative patterns of internal bone architecture reflect the kinematics and ki...
Poster
Full-text available
Teeth play a significant role in the study of diversity and evolution of living and extinct hominoids. Their exceptional preservation in the fossil record has promoted their use in taxonomic assessments. The investigation of the outer enamel surface (OES) and the enamel-dentin junction (EDJ) through different quantitative approaches has become a st...
Poster
Full-text available
Soft and hard tissue structures at the ulna-side of the wrist, such as reduced ulna-triquetrum articulation and the Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC), are conspicuous synapomorphies of hominoids [Fig.1]. These structures are historically linked to biomechanics characteristic of the hominoids such as high degrees of ulnar deviation and forear...
Article
Full-text available
Studies of hominin dental morphology frequently consider accessory cusps on the lower molars, in particular those on the distal margin of the tooth (C6 or distal accessory cusp) and the lingual margin of the tooth (C7 or lingual accessory cusp). They are often utilized in studies of hominin systematics, where their presence or absence is assessed a...
Article
Full-text available
Morphological variation in the hominoid capitate has been linked to differences in habitual locomotor activity due to its importance in movement and load transfer at the midcarpal joint proximally and carpometacarpal joints distally. Although the shape of bones and their articulations are linked to joint mobility, the internal structure of bones ha...
Article
Thirteen permanent fully erupted teeth were excavated at the Paleolithic site of La Cotte de St Brelade in Jersey in 1910 and 1911. These were all found in the same location, on a ledge behind a hearth in a Mousterian occupation level. They were originally identified as being Neanderthal. A fragment of occipital bone was found in a separate localit...
Article
Haeusler et al. (1) suggest that our analysis (2) of the distribution of relative bone volume across the articular surface (figure 5) does not justify different taxonomic allocations or locomotor classifications. We agree with their first suggestion, and we did not use these data to make direct arguments for the taxonomic attribution of either spec...
Article
Objectives Enamel thickness features prominently in hominoid evolutionary studies. To date, however, studies of enamel thickness in humans, great apes, and their fossil relatives have focused on the permanent molar row. Comparatively little research effort has been devoted to tissue proportions within deciduous teeth. Here we attempt to fill this g...
Article
Full-text available
Homo naledi displays a combination of features across the skeleton not found in any other hominin taxon, which has hindered attempts to determine its placement within the hominin clade. Using geometric morphometrics, we assess the morphology of the mandibular premolars of the species at the enamel-dentine junction (EDJ). Comparing with specimens of...
Article
Increasing evidence for both taxonomic diversity and early stone manufacture during the Pliocene highlights the importance of the hominin fossil record from this epoch in eastern Africa. Here, we describe dental remains from Lomekwi (West Turkana, Kenya), which date from between 3.2 and 3.5 Ma. The sample was collected between 1982 and 2009 and inc...
Article
Full-text available
The human lineage is marked by a transition in hand use, from locomotion towards increasingly dexterous manipulation, concomitant with bipedalism. The forceful precision grips used by modern humans probably evolved in the context of tool manufacture and use, but when and how many times hominin hands became principally manipulative remains unresolve...
Article
Enamel thickness remains an important morphological character in hominin systematics and is regularly incorporated into dietary reconstructions in hominin species. We expand upon a previous study of enamel thickness in mandibular molars by examining a large maxillary molar sample of Plio-Pleistocene hominins (n = 62) and a comparative sample of ext...
Article
Full-text available
The Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition in Europe witnessed the replacement and partial absorption of local Neanderthal populations by Homo sapiens populations of African origin1. However, this process probably varied across regions and its details remain largely unknown. In particular, the duration of chronological overlap between the two grou...
Article
Full-text available
Bipedalism is a defining trait of the hominin lineage, associated with a transition from a more arboreal to a more terrestrial environment. While there is debate about when modern human-like bipedalism first appeared in hominins, all known South African hominins show morphological adaptations to bipedalism, suggesting that this was their predominan...
Article
Few European sites have yielded human dental remains safely dated to the end of MIS 4/beginning of MIS 3. One of those sites is Marillac (Southwestern France), a collapsed karstic cave where archeological excavations (1967-1980) conducted by B. Vandermeersch unearthed numerous faunal and human remains, as well as a few Mousterian Quina tools. The M...
Article
Objectives: The dexterity of fossil hominins is often inferred by assessing the comparative manual anatomy and behaviors of extant hominids, with a focus on the thumb. The aim of this study is to test whether trabecular structure is consistent with what is currently known about habitually loaded thumb postures across extant hominids. Materials and...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: The taxonomic status of isolated hominoid teeth from the Asian Pleistocene has long been controversial due to difficulties distinguishing between pongine and hominin molars given their high degree of morphometrical variation and overlap. Here, we combine nonmetric and geometric morphometric data to document a dental pattern that appear...
Article
The mandibular third premolar (P3) exhibits substantial differences in size and shape among hominoid taxa, and displays a number of discrete traits that have proven to be useful in studies of hominin taxonomy and phylogeny. Discrete traits at the enamel-dentine junction (EDJ) can be accurately assessed on moderately worn specimens, and often appear...
Article
In apes, the mandibular third premolar (P3) is adapted for a role in honing the large upper canine. The role of honing was lost early in hominin evolution, releasing the tooth from this functional constraint and allowing it to respond to subsequent changes in masticatory demands. This led to substantial morphological changes, and as such the P3 has...
Article
Full-text available
Since the first discovery of Pithecanthropus (Homo) erectus by E. Dubois at Trinil in 1891, over 200 hominid dentognathic remains have been collected from the Early to Middle Pleistocene deposits of Java, Indonesia, forming the largest palaeoanthropological collection in South East Asia. Most of these fossils are currently attributed to H. erectus....
Article
The craniomandibular morphology of Homo naledi shows variable resemblances with species across Homo, which confounds an easy assessment of its phylogenetic position. In terms of skull shape, H. naledi has its closest affinities with Homo erectus, while mandibular shape places it closer to early Homo. From a tooth crown perspective, the smaller mola...
Article
Full-text available
Denisovans are members of a hominin group who are currently only known directly from fragmentary fossils, the genomes of which have been studied from a single site, Denisova Cave1–3 in Siberia. They are also known indirectly from their genetic legacy through gene flow into several low-altitude East Asian populations4,5 and high-altitude modern Tibe...
Article
Trabecular bone remodels during life in response to loading and thus should, at least in part, reflect potential variation in the magnitude, frequency and direction of joint loading across different hominid species. Here we analyse the trabecular structure across all non‐pollical metacarpal distal heads (Mc2‐5) in extant great apes, expanding on pr...
Article
Full-text available
Previously, a micro-finite element (micro-FE)-based inverse remodelling method was presented in the literature that reconstructs the loading history of a bone based on its architecture alone. Despite promising preliminary results, it remains unclear whether this method is sensitive enough to detect differences of bone loading related to pathologies...
Poster
Full-text available
Trabecular ontogeny of great ape third metacarpals
Article
Studies of femoral trabecular structure have shown that the orientation and volume of bone are associated with variation in loading and could be informative about individual joint positioning during locomotion. In this study, we analyse for the first time trabecular bone patterns throughout the femoral head using a whole‐epiphysis approach to inves...
Article
Objectives: Several studies have investigated potential functional signals in the trabecular structure of the primate proximal humerus but with varied success. Here, we apply for the first time a "whole-epiphyses" approach to analysing trabecular bone in the humeral head with the aim of providing a more holistic interpretation of trabecular variat...
Article
Objectives Trabecular bone structure is known to be influenced by joint loading during life. However, many additional variables have the potential to contribute to trabecular bone structure of an adult individual, including age, sex, body size, genetics, and overall activity level. There is little research into intraspecific variability in trabecul...
Article
Full-text available
Background In addition to external bone shape and cortical bone thickness and distribution, the distribution and orientation of internal trabecular bone across individuals and species has yielded important functional information on how bone adapts in response to load. In particular, trabecular bone analysis has played a key role in studies of human...
Data
Fig. S1. Pan BV/TV and DA distributions in the complete sample.
Data
Fig. S2. Gorilla BV/TV and DA distributions in the complete sample.
Data
Table S1. Results (p-value) for between taxa differences in the examined regions. Captive Pongo are included.
Data
Fig. S4. Homo BV/TV and DA distributions in the complete sample.
Data
Table S2. Loadings of parameters at each region to PC1 and PC2.
Data
Table S3. Results (p-value) for between taxa differences in the indices. Captive Pongo are included.
Data
Fig. S3. Pongo BV/TV and DA distributions in the complete sample. Captive specimens: ZSM 1966 0203 (male) and ZSM 1982 0092 (female).
Article
Hand bone morphology is regularly used to link particular hominin species with behaviors relevant to cognitive/technological progress. Debates about the functional significance of differing hominin hand bone morphologies tend to rely on establishing phylogenetic relationships and/or inferring behavior from epigenetic variation arising from mechanic...
Article
Full-text available
In the originally published version of this Letter, the x axis in Fig. 3a should have been: 'PC1: 26%' rather than 'PC1: 46%', and the y axis should have been: 'PC2: 16%' rather than 'PC2: 29%'. We also noticed an error in the numbering of the fossils from Qafzeh: Qafzeh 27 should be removed, and Qafzeh 26 is actually Qafzeh 25, following Tillier (...
Article
Full-text available
The detailed anatomical features that characterize fossil hominin molars figure prominently in the reconstruction of their taxonomy, phylogeny, and paleobiology. Despite the prominence of molar form in human origins research, the underlying developmental mechanisms generating the diversity of tooth crown features remain poorly understood. A model o...
Article
Perikymata, incremental growth lines visible on tooth enamel surfaces, differ in their distribution and number among hominin species, although with overlapping patterns. This study asks: (1) How does the distribution of perikymata along the lateral enamel surface of Homo naledi anterior teeth compare to that of other hominins? (2) When both perikym...
Article
Aspects of trabecular bone architecture are thought to reflect regional loading of the skeleton, and thus differ between primate taxa with different locomotor and postural modes. However, there are several systemic factors that affect bone structure that could contribute to, or be the primary factor determining, interspecific differences in bone st...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The taxonomic status of isolated hominoid teeth from Asian Pleistocene deposits has long been controversial due to the morpho-metrical similarities between Homo and Pongo molars. Here we report a variant observed on the internal surface of the mesial marginal ridge of the upper molars that appears to be taxonomically informative. The presence of me...
Article
Full-text available
Genetic evidence for anatomically modern humans (AMH) out of Africa before 75 thousand years ago (ka) and in island southeast Asia (ISEA) before 60 ka (93-61 ka) predates accepted archaeological records of occupation in the region. Claims that AMH arrived in ISEA before 60 ka (ref. 4) have been supported only by equivocal or non-skeletal evidence....
Article
Evolutionary studies of mammalian teeth have generally concentrated on the adaptive and functional significance of dental features, whereas the role of development on phenotypic generation and as a source of variation has received comparatively little attention. The present study combines an evolutionary biological framework with state-of-the-art i...
Article
Full-text available
Fossil evidence points to an African origin of Homo sapiens from a group called either H. heidelbergensis or H. rhodesiensis. However, the exact place and time of emergence of H. sapiens remain obscure because the fossil record is scarce and the chronological age of many key specimens remains uncertain. In particular, it is unclear whether the pres...
Article
Objectives: Internal bone structure, both cortical and trabecular bone, remodels in response to loading and may provide important information regarding behavior. The foot is well suited to analysis of internal bone structure because it experiences the initial substrate reaction forces, due to its proximity to the substrate. Moreover, as humans and...
Article
\textbf{Objectives:}$ Internal bone structure, both cortical and trabecular bone, remodels in response to loading and may provide important information regarding behavior. The foot is well suited to analysis of internal bone structure because it experiences the initial substrate reaction forces, due to its proximity to the substrate. Moreover, as h...
Data
Postcranial measurements. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.24232.047
Data
Canonical variates analysis of carpal morphology. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.24232.048
Data
Traits of the LES1 cranium in comparison to H. naledi and other hominin species. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.24232.045
Data
Cranial and mandibular measurements. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.24232.046
Data
Taphonomic observations by specimen from the Lesedi Chamber. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.24232.049
Article
Full-text available
The Rising Star cave system has produced abundant fossil hominin remains within the Dinaledi Chamber, representing a minimum of 15 individuals attributed to Homo naledi. Further exploration led to the discovery of hominin material, now comprising 131 hominin specimens, within a second chamber, the Lesedi Chamber. The Lesedi Chamber is far separated...
Article
Orangutans (Pongo sp.) show among the highest occurrence of three types of developmental enamel defect. Two are attributed to nutritional factors that reduce bone growth in the infant's face early in development. Their timing and prevalence indicate that Sumatra provides a better habitat than does Borneo. The third type, repetitive linear enamel hy...