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Morotopithecus traits

Suspensory locomotion, ape like lumbar, tear dropped shape glenoid fossa, rigid femur (careful climbing), fistal femur wide and asymmetrical, popliteal groove gives stabilization during vertical climbing


- Large incisors, compressed canine, Reduced lumbar vertebrae with less mobility, ribcage wide, long clavicle, arms long relative to legs flexible wrist, hand capable of powerful grip, abduction at the hip (femur has head and neck).

Sivapithecus traits (arboreal quadruped)

Gracile supraorbital torus, orbits close together, proximal humerus monkey like, distal femur ape like, fossil primates found in India

Suspensory locomotion

Involves hanging or suspension of the body below or among the branches

Above-branch locomotion

Moving or sitting on top of the branches


Earliest miocene apes evolved in Africa-adaptive radiation of hominoidea, the radiation shifts with climate. Radiation begins in Uganda, then goes to Europe. Tropics spread and contract the miocene apes move with spreading and contracting tropical environments

Sahelanthropus ~7Ma (toumai) CHAD

Anterior foramen magnum, massive supra-orbital torus, less prognathic, sagittal crest, post-orbital constriction, large nuchal crest, 320-380cc, reduced canine.

Ororrin tugenensis 5.9-5.7 Ma Kenya

Thick enamel, ape like canine, large and medial lesser trochanter, shallow interchanteric fossa, arm retains suspensory capability, curved phalanx

Ardipithecus kadabba 5.8-5.2 Ma Aramis, Middle Awash , KENYA

Canine more conical shaped than apes, mesial ridge on canines, narrow lower second incisors, phalanx is very curved, but joint surfaces shows adaptations for bipedality.

Ardipithecus ramidus

Humerus shows minimal torsion, long curved metacarpals and phalanges, careful climbing, extremely abducted hallux

Bipedal features for Ardipithecus ramidus

Iliac blade is shorter and wider, more oriented toward the sagittal plane, greater trochanter looks like homonin

Ardipithecus ramidus 4.4-4.3Ma Afar region, KENYA ~ argument for monogamy

Monomorphic (one shape) canines demonstrates reduced sexual dimorphism

Ardipithecus ramidus 4.4-4.3 Ma Afar region, KENYA ~ diet & environment

Relatively thin enamel demonstrates a frugivorous diet, soft non-abrasive foods, stable isotope analysis C4 indicates it lived in open grassland environments

Raymond Dart

Found "taung" child 1924, South Africa - small teeth (apical wear and procumbent), anterior foramen magnum, endocast displayed lunate sulcus more derived condition like humans, taung child was rejected as common ancestor

Piltdown man 1912

Was a hoax, and fit a preconceived notion of what our ancestors looked like.1953 the hoax was finally realized.

Robert Broom - Sterkfontein (1930s)

Found an adult A. africanus

Australopithecus anamensis 4.2-3.9 Ma ~ plesiomorphies

Canines and incisors relatively large, U-shaped mandible, mandible slim and steep,most features of arms are primitive, curved strong phalanges, wrist bones indicate no precision grip for tool making.

Australopithecus anamensis 4.2-3.9 Ma ~ apomorphies

Canines have single wear surface, molar enlargement, thick enamel.

First family, Laetoli

Laetoli footprints indicates a striding rather than bent knee bipedality of A. afarensis

A. afarensis 3.6-2.9 Ma ~ Cranial plesiomorphies

380-550cc, large incisors and canines, alveolar prognathism, sagittal crest in some

A. afarensis 3.6-2.9 Ma ~ cranial apomorphies

Molariform premolars, more megadont 2.8X, parabolic shaped arcade (n some)

A. afarensis 3.6-2.9 Ma ~ post-crania plesiomorphies

Metacarpals capable of bearing weight, small apical tuffs on finger phalanges, curved phalanges, cranially oriented glenoid fossa, cone shaped thorax, small non-wedged shaped lumbar vertebrae, short femur

A. afarensis 3.6-2.9 Ma ~ post-crania apomorphies

Very wide pelvis, femur w/small head and long neck, valgus knee, 6 lumbar vertebrae, flat tibiotalar (ankle) joint, expanded calcaneus (heal), large 1st metatarsal, arched non-grasping foot, adducted hallux, short toe phalanges

Australopithecus africanus 3.0-2.4 Ma in South Africa ~ Plesiomorphies

Alveolar prognathism, post-orbital constriction,

Australopithecus africanus 3.0-2.4 Ma in South Africa ~ apomorphies

Sacrum tipped forward, wedge shaped lumbar vertebrae, less defined supra-orbital torus, reduced nuchal muscles, cheek bones more anterior, more loading on cheek teeth.

Swartkrans cave site South Africa

subterranean dolomite cavern filled with breccia over time, and comprised of 5 members, paranthropus found here

Australopithecus garhi 2.7-2.3 Ma, Ethiopia

Very wide canines, molarform premolars, large molars (megadontia), stone tools found nearby, oldest tools ever found (Oldowan core choppers), cut marks on bone found, possibly were scavenging.

Australopithecus sediba 1.9-1.78 Ma Malapa, South Africa ~ Plesiomorphies

Small cranial capacity 420cc, more pronounced supra-orbital torus, pelvis more derived like homo

Australopithecus sediba 1.9-1.78 Ma Malapa, South Africa ~ apomorphies

less post-orbital constriction, cheek bones less flaring, vertical chin area, reduced cheek teeth

Differences between gracile and robust Australopiths

Post-cranially very similar, cranially very different - lagre sagittal crests, megadontia, large zygomatic arches.

Apomorphies of Paranthropus as a genus

Very large cheek teeth, small incisors and canines shaped like incisiforms, dished midface, cheek bones more anterior, sagittal crest

Paranthropus aethiopicus 2.7-2.3 Ma Ethiopia and Kenya.

Anterior dentition larger than in later paranthropus, mre prognathic, 410cc, HUGE sagittal crest,

Paranthropus boisei 2.5-1.4 Ma, East Africa, Ethiopia to Malawi

Hyper robust, both males and females, sexual dimorphism present, the most robust taxon, cranium more flexed, sagittal crest more anterior, 500-540cc, a change in the architecture of chewing muscles.

Paranthropus robustus ~1.8-1.0 Ma, South Africa

Very similar to P. boisei but less robust,and smaller teeth than boisei

How to study diet

Teeth, masticatory system, wear patterns, isotopes

Australopith teeth

Flat chewing surface, reduction in molars, procumbent incisors, small incisors, reduced canines, low cusps, thick enamel, medium sized chewing surface, generalized dentition herbivore/omnivore

Paranthropus teeth

Small incisors, small canines, low cusps, thick enamel, megadont, specialized for hard food stuffs.

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