Laetoli Footprints In The News

Live Science has an interesting report on a new look at the Laetoli footprint trails. As mentioned here and here the famous footprint trails are in trouble due to erosion. Plans are to build a museum on the site to preserve them. Live Science takes it from there: Continue reading

Know Your Hominin: A. L. 822-1

A. L. 822-1 was discovered in 2000 at Hadar, Ethipia. It is attributed to Australopithecus afarensis and is, at the time of discovery, the only complete skull of a female A. afarensis. The skull dates to approximately 3.1 MYA and is one of three that preserves both a cranium and a mandible (the others being A.L. 444-2 and A.L. 417-1).

Literature

Kimbel and Rak (2010) The cranial base of Australopithecus afarensis: new insights from the female skull. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 2010 365, 3365-3376, doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0070

Kimbel (2009) Australopithecus afarensis and the Mosaic Evolution of the Hominin Cranial Base. Note: This is an audio presentation given at a seminar hosted by the Royal Society in 2009.

Was Australopithecus anamensis  Arboreal?

That is the question asked by a recemt paper in Folia Primatologica. I don’t have access but Discovery News has the story. Apparently, the researchers analyzed the capitates of a number of hominoids and hominins. According to Discovery News: Continue reading

Changing Views on Australopithecus afarensis

The other day I stumbled across an interesting article by Kimbel and Delezene, published last year in the Yearbook of Physical Anthropology, called ‘‘Lucy’’ Redux: A Review of Research on Australopithecus afarensis. I’m just now getting around to reading it and one paragraph jumped out at me: Continue reading

Begging for an Article: Again

Can some one send me a copy of this article? Here is the abstract – which is very interesting:

Only one partial skeleton that includes both forelimb and hindlimb elements has been reported for Australopithecus afarensis. The diminutive size of this specimen (A.L. 288-1 ["Lucy"]) has hampered our understanding of the paleobiology of this species absent the potential impact of allometry. Here we describe a large-bodied (i.e., well within the range of living Homo) specimen that, at 3.58 Ma, also substantially antedates A.L. 288–1. It provides fundamental evidence of limb proportions, thoracic form, and locomotor heritage in Australopithecus afarensis. Together, these characteristics further establish that bipedality in Australopithecus was highly evolved and that thoracic form differed substantially from that of either extant African ape.

I have the article now. Thanks!

Some Random Thoughts About Australopithecus sediba

I am going to be very busy today so I won’t get an in depth post up on Australopithecus sediba until tomorrow. In the meantime three items jumped out at me so I thought I would, briefly, mention them.

Continue reading

Things You Would Like To See

Science Daily has an item concerning the Laetoli foot print study in PLoS One. One bit stands out:

The subjects walked both with normal, erect human gaits and then with crouched, chimpanzee-like gaits.

Film of the latter would be interesting – lord knows we were disappointed with last year’s Ardipithecus special on that score… Speaking of, why is the idea that some of our ancestors were bipedal on the ground but still spent a lot of time in the trees news?

And then there is this (also from Science Daily):

This morphology differs distinctly from our own genus, Homo, who abandoned arboreal life around 2 million years ago and irrevocably committed to human-like bipedalism.

I guess Homo habilis don’t count, eh? I hope the PLoS One article is better (I haven’t read it yet).

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