Amud 1 is a nearly complete but poorly preserved adult Southwest Asian Neanderthal skeleton thought to be about 55,000 years old. It was discovered at Amud in Israel by Hisashi Suzuki in July 1961, who described it as male. With an estimated height of 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in), it is considerably taller than any other known Neanderthal,[1] and its skull has by far the largest cranial capacity (1736[2]-1740[3] cm3) of any archaic hominin skull ever found. Making it, according to Ralph Holloway, one of the most famous specimens of Neanderthal skulls.[4]

Amud 1
Amud 1. Homo neanderthalensis.jpg
Amud 1 cranium cast without the mandible
Catalog no.Amud 1
SpeciesHomo neanderthalensis
Age55,000 years
Place discoveredAmud Cave, Israel
Date discoveredJuly 1961
Discovered byHisashi Suzuki and others

The skull was found very high in the stratigraphy and was not only mixed with Upper Palaeolithic artefacts, but also with pottery from levels further above. Because of this the first two published dates of Amud 1 and other remains were not taken seriously when they suggested an extremely recent time (by Neanderthal standards) of 28,000 and 20,000 years. It has since been redated by ESR to about 55,000 years.

Like other Neanderthal specimens in the Levant (such as Tabun C1 and the Shanidar specimens), Amud 1's skull is long, broad, and intermediate in cranial vault height as compared with European Neanderthals and modern humans.[5] With a supposedly large nose and a big face, moderate[6] midfacial prognathism, a small brow ridge and small[7] teeth, Amud 1 exhibits an unusual mosaic of features compared to European Neanderthals. Contrary of majority of other Near Eastern and, especially European Neanderthals, its brow ridges are slender and its chin, though still minimal by modern human standards, is somewhat developed. Although Amud 1 is considerably taller than any other known Neanderthal, its body is stocky, robust, and has short limbs, similarly to the cold-adapted bodies of Classic West European Neanderthals.[1]

Suzuki initially interpreted these features as intermediate between Levantine Neanderthals (the Tabun and Shanidar specimens) and Levantine anatomically modern humans (Skhul and Qafzeh).[8] In 1995, Hovers et al. argued that its cranial and mandibular particularities made it fully Neanderthal,[9] and although rejected by Belfer-Cohen (1998), this is now the accepted classification.[by whom?] Amud 1 is highly progressive for a Neanderthal and has many derived traits shared with early anatomically modern humans and even modern humans.[10][11]

However, the Amud 1 facial skeleton was incomplete and fragmentary; its assumed form has been reconstructed, and hence measurements of the specimen (particularly with regards to the midface) are speculatory. In 2015 a virtual reconstruction by Japanese scientists indicated that the Amud 1 facial skeleton was smaller than previously estimated, and that the cranial vault was shorter and more brachycephalic during the individual's lifetime; having been deformed in situ by geological pressure.[12]

The skeleton is currently held at Tel Aviv University, Israel.

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b Stringer, C.; Gamble, C. (1993). In Search of the Neanderthals. Nature. Vol. 376. London: Thames and Hudson. pp. 100–101. Bibcode:1995Natur.376..397D. doi:10.1038/376397a0. ISBN 978-0500050705. S2CID 28677166.
  2. ^ Amano, H.; Kikuchi, T.; Morita, Y.; Kondo, O.; Suzuki, Hiromasa; et al. (Aug 2015). "Virtual Reconstruction of the Neanderthal Amud 1 Cranium" (PDF). American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 158 (2): 185–197. doi:10.1002/ajpa.22777. hdl:10261/123419. PMID 26249757.
  3. ^ Ogawa, T.; Kamiya, T.; Sakai, S.; Hosokawa, H. (1970). "Some observations on the endocranial cast of the Amud man.". In Suzuki, Hisashi; Takai, F. (eds.). The Amud man and his cave site. Tokyo: Keigaku Publishing. pp. 407–420.
  4. ^ Holloway, R.L.; Broadfield, D.C.; Yuan, M.S. (2004). The human fossil record: brain endocasts: the paleoneurological evidence. Hoboken: Wiley. doi:10.1002/0471663573. ISBN 9780471663577.
  5. ^ Trinkaus, Erik (July 1, 1983). The Shanidar Neanderthals. Academic. pp. 61–62. ISBN 0127005501.
  6. ^ Trinkaus, Erik (July 1, 1983). The Shanidar Neanderthals. Academic. p. 448. ISBN 0127005501.
  7. ^ Tattersall, Ian (May 5, 2003). The Human Fossil Record, Craniodental Morphology of Genus Homo (Africa and Asia). Wiley Liss. p. 311. ISBN 0471319287.
  8. ^ Suzuki, Hisashi; Takai, F. (1970). The Amud man and his cave site. Tokyo: Keigaku Publishing Co.
  9. ^ Hovers, E.; Lavi, Y.; Kimbel, W. (1995). "Hominid remains from Amud Cave in the context of the Levantine Middle Paleolithic". Paléorient. 21 (2): 47–61. doi:10.3406/paleo.1995.4617.
  10. ^ Arensburg, Baruch; Belfer-Cohen, Anna (January 2002). "Sapiens and Neandertals". Neandertals and Modern Humans in Western Asia. pp. 311–322. doi:10.1007/0-306-47153-1_19. ISBN 978-0-306-45924-5.
  11. ^ Ayala, Francisco J.; Cela-Conde, Camilo J. (2017-03-01). Processes in Human Evolution: The journey from early hominins to Neanderthals and modern humans. ISBN 9780191060458.
  12. ^ Amano, Hideki (7 August 2015). "Virtual reconstruction of the Neanderthal Amud 1 cranium" (PDF). American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 158 (2): 185–197. doi:10.1002/ajpa.22777. PMID 26249757.