Friday, April 12, 2013

[PaleoAnthropology • 2013] Mosaic Nature of Australopithecus sediba | New study reveals how human ancestor walked, chewed, and moved


Reconstruction of a ~2-million-year-old Australopithecus sediba skeleton (height: ~1.3 meters) based on fossils from the Malapa Hominin 1 (MH1), MH2, and MH4 specimens from Malapa, Gauteng, South Africa. Brown indicates discovered fossils. Au. Sediba exhibits a mosaic morphology distinct from that of other australopiths and early Homo.

Australopithecus sediba hominin
: New study reveals how human ancestor walked, chewed, and moved 


A team of scientists has pieced together how the hominid Australopithecus sediba (Au. sediba) walked, chewed, and moved nearly two million years ago. Their research, which appears in six papers in the latest issue of the journal Science, also shows that Au. sediba had a notable feature that differed from that of modern humans—a functionally longer and more flexible lower back. 

Together, the studies offer a comprehensive depiction of some of the most complete early human ancestral remains ever discovered. Since its discovery in August 2008, the site of Malapa—located about 30 miles northwest of Johannesburg—has yielded more than 220 bones of early hominins representing more than five individuals, including the remains of babies, juveniles, and adults. The evidence published in Science is based on two individuals from the site. The fossils from the site date to 1.977 to 1.98 million years in age.

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Australopithecus sediba hominin: New study reveals how human ancestor walked, chewed, and moved 

Composite reconstruction of Au. sediba based on recovered material from MH1, MH2, and MH4 and based on the research presented in the accompanying manuscripts. Because all individuals recovered to date are approximately the same size, size correction was not necessary. Femoral length was established by digitally measuring a complete femur of MH1 still encased in rock. For comparison, a small-bodied female modern H. sapiens is shown on the left and a male Pan troglodytes on the right.

The Mosaic Nature of Australopithecus sediba dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.340.6129.163
A Human Smile and Funny Walk for Australopithecus sediba : dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.340.6129.132

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