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J Hum Evol. 2001 Oct;41(4):255-368.

Morphology of Australopithecus anamensis from Kanapoi and Allia Bay, Kenya.

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Department of Anthropology, University of Missouri, 107 Swallow Hall, Columbia, Missouri 65211, USA.

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  • J Hum Evol 2001 Dec;41(6):713-6.


The hominid species Australopithecus anamensis was originally described in 1995, with new specimens and more secure dates given in 1998. This paper lists all fossils attributed to A. anamensis, and provides anatomical descriptions of those not yet described in detail with photographs of all but undiagnostic fragments. We also provide comparative analysis of these specimens. The A. anamensis holotype mandible was found at Kanapoi, as were most of the paratypes. The Allia Bay sample is less well represented, and does not preserve many anatomical elements diagnostic of this species. Still, the Allia Bay sample most closely resembles that from Kanapoi, and we suggest that for the time being it be retained as A. anamensis. A. anamensis most closely resembles A. afarensis, but can be distinguished from it in many features. Most of these features are inferred to be primitive for the genus. Based on the limited postcranial evidence available, A. anamensis appears to have been habitually bipedal, although it retained some primitive features of its upper limbs. A. anamensis differs from A. afarensis in having narrower, more parallel jaws with a very slightly more ape-like canine/premolar complex than is found in A. afarensis, although not as ape-like as in Ardipithecus ramidus. It had slightly larger lower lateral incisors, a unique upper canine morphology, and a different structure of the lateral nasal aperture than A. afarensis. A. anamensis had at least as great a range of body size, and perhaps slightly greater canine dimorphism, although this is difficult to determine. At present, there appears to be no autapomorphies precluding A. anamensis from ancestry of A. afarensis.

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