Neanderthal hand and foot remains from Moula-Guercy, Ardèche, France

Ben Mersey, Rebecca S. Jabbour, Kyle Brudvik, Alban Defleur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hand and foot remains from Moula-Guercy cave (Ardèche, France) comprise 24 specimens of Eemian age (ca. 120 ka). The specimens include primarily complete elements, which are rare among the Moula-Guercy postcrania. The hand remains have several characteristic Neanderthal traits including a laterally facing (parasagittally oriented) second metacarpal-capitate articulation, a short styloid process, a wide proximal articular surface on the third metacarpal, and absolutely expanded apical tuberosities on the distal hand phalanges relative to modern humans. The foot remains include several incomplete elements along with an antimeric pair of naviculars, a medial cuneiform and cuboid, and a single complete element from each of the distal segments (one each: metatarsal, proximal foot phalanx, intermediate foot phalanx, distal foot phalanx). Consistent among the specimens are relatively wide diaphyses for length in the metatarsals and phalanges and large and prominent muscle attachments, both consistent with previously published Neanderthal morphology. The hand and foot collection from Moula-Guercy is an important dataset for future studies of Neanderthal functional morphology, dexterity, and behavior as it represents a previously undersampled time period for European Neanderthals.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013


  • Pleistocene
  • feet
  • hands
  • hominid


  • Biology

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