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A juvenile early hominin skeleton from Dikika, Ethiopia

Understanding changes in ontogenetic development is central to the study of human evolution. With the exception of Neanderthals, the growth patterns of fossil hominins have not been studied comprehensively because the fossil record currently lacks specimens that document both cranial and postcranial... Full description

Journal Title: Nature 2006-09-21, Vol.443 (7109), p.296-301
Main Author: Geraads, Denis
Other Authors: Spoor, Fred , Reed, Denné , Kimbel, William H , Bobe, René , Wynn, Jonathan G , Alemseged, Zeresenay
Format: Electronic Article Electronic Article
Language: English
Subjects:
Publisher: London: Nature Publishing
ID: ISSN: 0028-0836
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recordid: cdi_hal_shs_oai_HAL_hal_00838289v1
title: A juvenile early hominin skeleton from Dikika, Ethiopia
format: Article
creator:
  • Geraads, Denis
  • Spoor, Fred
  • Reed, Denné
  • Kimbel, William H
  • Bobe, René
  • Wynn, Jonathan G
  • Alemseged, Zeresenay
subjects:
  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Biological anthropology
  • Earth sciences
  • Earth, ocean, space
  • Ethiopia
  • Exact sciences and technology
  • Female
  • Fossils
  • Gait
  • History, Ancient
  • Hominidae - anatomy & histology
  • Hominidae - physiology
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Humans
  • Paleontology
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Skeleton
  • Skull - anatomy & histology
  • Time Factors
  • Vertebrate paleontology
ispartof: Nature, 2006-09-21, Vol.443 (7109), p.296-301
description: Understanding changes in ontogenetic development is central to the study of human evolution. With the exception of Neanderthals, the growth patterns of fossil hominins have not been studied comprehensively because the fossil record currently lacks specimens that document both cranial and postcranial development at young ontogenetic stages. Here we describe a well-preserved 3.3-million-year-old juvenile partial skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis discovered in the Dikika research area of Ethiopia. The skull of the approximately three-year-old presumed female shows that most features diagnostic of the species are evident even at this early stage of development. The find includes many previously unknown skeletal elements from the Pliocene hominin record, including a hyoid bone that has a typical African ape morphology. The foot and other evidence from the lower limb provide clear evidence for bipedal locomotion, but the gorilla-like scapula and long and curved manual phalanges raise new questions about the importance of arboreal behaviour in the A. afarensis locomotor repertoire.
language: eng
source:
identifier: ISSN: 0028-0836
fulltext: no_fulltext
issn:
  • 0028-0836
  • 1476-4687
  • 1476-4679
url: Link


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titleA juvenile early hominin skeleton from Dikika, Ethiopia
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descriptionUnderstanding changes in ontogenetic development is central to the study of human evolution. With the exception of Neanderthals, the growth patterns of fossil hominins have not been studied comprehensively because the fossil record currently lacks specimens that document both cranial and postcranial development at young ontogenetic stages. Here we describe a well-preserved 3.3-million-year-old juvenile partial skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis discovered in the Dikika research area of Ethiopia. The skull of the approximately three-year-old presumed female shows that most features diagnostic of the species are evident even at this early stage of development. The find includes many previously unknown skeletal elements from the Pliocene hominin record, including a hyoid bone that has a typical African ape morphology. The foot and other evidence from the lower limb provide clear evidence for bipedal locomotion, but the gorilla-like scapula and long and curved manual phalanges raise new questions about the importance of arboreal behaviour in the A. afarensis locomotor repertoire.
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subjectAging ; Animals ; Biological anthropology ; Earth sciences ; Earth, ocean, space ; Ethiopia ; Exact sciences and technology ; Female ; Fossils ; Gait ; History, Ancient ; Hominidae - anatomy & histology ; Hominidae - physiology ; Humanities and Social Sciences ; Humans ; Paleontology ; Sex Characteristics ; Skeleton ; Skull - anatomy & histology ; Time Factors ; Vertebrate paleontology
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abstractUnderstanding changes in ontogenetic development is central to the study of human evolution. With the exception of Neanderthals, the growth patterns of fossil hominins have not been studied comprehensively because the fossil record currently lacks specimens that document both cranial and postcranial development at young ontogenetic stages. Here we describe a well-preserved 3.3-million-year-old juvenile partial skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis discovered in the Dikika research area of Ethiopia. The skull of the approximately three-year-old presumed female shows that most features diagnostic of the species are evident even at this early stage of development. The find includes many previously unknown skeletal elements from the Pliocene hominin record, including a hyoid bone that has a typical African ape morphology. The foot and other evidence from the lower limb provide clear evidence for bipedal locomotion, but the gorilla-like scapula and long and curved manual phalanges raise new questions about the importance of arboreal behaviour in the A. afarensis locomotor repertoire.
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