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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Apr 17;104(16):6568-72. Epub 2007 Apr 10.

Gorilla-like anatomy on Australopithecus afarensis mandibles suggests Au. afarensis link to robust australopiths.

Author information

1
Department of Anatomy and Anthropology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel. yoelrak@post.tau.ac.il

Abstract

Mandibular ramus morphology on a recently discovered specimen of Australopithecus afarensis closely matches that of gorillas. This finding was unexpected given that chimpanzees are the closest living relatives of humans. Because modern humans, chimpanzees, orangutans, and many other primates share a ramal morphology that differs from that of gorillas, the gorilla anatomy must represent a unique condition, and its appearance in fossil hominins must represent an independently derived morphology. This particular morphology appears also in Australopithecus robustus. The presence of the morphology in both the latter and Au. afarensis and its absence in modern humans cast doubt on the role of Au. afarensis as a modern human ancestor. The ramal anatomy of the earlier Ardipithecus ramidus is virtually that of a chimpanzee, corroborating the proposed phylogenetic scenario.

PMID:
17426152
PMCID:
PMC1871826
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.0606454104
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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