Neural network analysis by using the Self-Organizing Maps (SOMs) applied to human fossil dental morphology: A new methodology

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-5845-5_6 In book: Dental Perspectives on Human Evolution: State of the Art Research in Dental Paleoanthropology, pp.81-101


Recent studies focusing on dental morphology of extinct and extant human populations have shown, on a global scale, the considerable
potential of dental traits as a tool to understand the phenetic relations existing between populations. The aim of this paper
is to analyze the dental morphologic relationships between archaic Homo and anatomically modern Homo sapiens by means of a new methodology derived from artificial neural networks called Self Organizing Maps (SOMs). The graph obtained
by SOMs to some extent recalls a classical Multidimensional Scaling (MDS) or a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) plot. The
most important advantages of SOMs is that they can handle vectors with missing components without interpolating missing data.
The analyzed database consisted of 1055 Lower-Middle and (Early) Late Pleistocene specimens, which were scored by using dental
morphological traits of the Arizona State University Dental Anthropology System (ASUDAS). The principal result indicates a
close relationship between the Homo erectus s.l. and Middle Pleistocene specimens and the later Neandertal groups. Furthermore, the dental models of anatomically modern
Homo sapiens are particularly different compared to the more archaic populations. Thus, SOMs can be considered a valuable tool in the
field of dental morphological studies since they enable the analysis of samples at an individual level without any need i) to interpolate missing data or ii) place individuals in predetermined groups.

Keywordsneural network analysis-Self-Organizing Maps (SOMs)-multidimensional scaling-dental morphology-Arizona State University Dental Anthropology System (ASUDAS)-Lower Pleistocene specimen-Middle Pleistocene specimen-Late Pleistocene specimen

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    • "Наиболее высокие частоты среднего гребня тригонида наблюдаются у представителей вида Homo neanderthalensis. В разных выборках его частоты варьируют от 80% до 100% [Manni, Vargiu, Coppa, 2007, table 2]. У других среднеплейстоценовых Homo частоты признака несколько ниже, еще ниже они у Homo erectus [там же] и у австралопитековых [Bailey et al., 2011, table 3]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Distribution of frequency of archaic dental markers in Mesolithic and Neolithic population of Eurasia is discussed. Longer preservation of archaic complex in Northern Eurasian and Southern Eurasian protomorphic anthropological formation, compared with the European series is stated. It is also discussed that archaic signs are better for studying of protomorphic formations diff erentiation, compared with the standard research program.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013
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    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Journal of Human Evolution