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J Hum Evol. 2002 Nov;43(5):687-748.

Fossil Cercopithecidae from the Hadar Formation and surrounding areas of the Afar Depression, Ethiopia.

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Department of Anatomy, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, NYIT Old Westbury, New York 11568, USA.


Hadar is well known as one of the most productive early hominin sites in the world. Between 1972 and 1994 a large sample of fossil cercopithecid specimens was collected from Hadar and the nearby sites of Geraru, Ahmado, and Leadu. At least five, and possibly six, species are present in the sample, including two chronological subspecies of Theropithecus oswaldi. T. o. cf. darti is known from the Middle Pliocene deposits in the Hadar area, along with Parapapio cf. jonesi, cf. Rhinocolobus turkanaensis, and a new species of Cercopithecoides, C. meaveae. There are also isolated molars from the Middle Pliocene of a large colobine which most likely represent cf. R. turkanaensis, but may also represent another large colobine known from the nearby site of Maka in the Middle Awash. T. o. oswaldi is represented from younger deposits of Late Pliocene and Early Pleistocene age, along with the large colobine Cercopithecoides kimeui. Throughout the sequence Theropithecus oswaldi is by far the most abundant cercopithecid, with the other taxa being comparatively rare. The Parapapio material from Hadar is important as the only securely identifiable material of the genus in the East African Pliocene. Furthermore, the Hadar material includes the only associated postcranial remains for the genus. If the tentative identification of Rhinocolobus is correct, then the Hadar sample is the only known occurrence outside of the Turkana Basin. Cercopithecoides meaveae is a new species, currently only known from the Hadar region, most importantly by the associated partial skeleton from Leadu. It appears to show adaptations for terrestrial locomotion. Finally, Cercopithecoides kimeui, a very large colobine previously known from Olduvai Gorge, Koobi Fora, and Rawi is recorded from the uppermost part of the Formation.

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