Skip to main content

Evidence for habitual climbing in a Pleistocene hominin in South Africa

Georgiou, Leoni, Dunmore, Christopher J., Bardo, Ameline, Buck, Laura T., Hublin, Jean-Jacques, Pahr, Dieter H., Stratford, Dominic, Synek, Alexander, Kivell, Tracy L., Skinner, Matthew M. and others. (2020) Evidence for habitual climbing in a Pleistocene hominin in South Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117 (15). pp. 8416-8423. ISSN 0027-8424. (doi:10.1073/pnas.1914481117) (KAR id:80410)

PDF Publisher pdf
Language: English


Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Download (1MB) Preview
PDF Author's Accepted Manuscript
Language: English
Download (780kB) Preview
Official URL
https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1914481117

Abstract

Bipedalism is a defining trait of the hominin lineage, associated with a transition from a more arboreal to a more terrestrial environment. While there is debate about when modern human-like bipedalism first appeared in hominins, all known South African hominins show morphological adaptations to bipedalism, suggesting that this was their predominant mode of locomotion. Here we present evidence that hominins preserved in the Sterkfontein Caves practiced two different locomotor repertoires. The trabecular structure of a proximal femur (StW 522) attributed to Australopithecus africanus exhibits a modern human-like bipedal locomotor pattern, while that of a geologically younger specimen (StW 311) attributed to either Homo sp. or Paranthropus robustus exhibits a pattern more similar to nonhuman apes, potentially suggesting regular bouts of both climbing and terrestrial bipedalism. Our results demonstrate distinct morphological differences, linked to behavioral differences between Australopithecus and later hominins in South Africa and contribute to the increasing evidence of locomotor diversity within the hominin clade.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1073/pnas.1914481117
Uncontrolled keywords: anthropology, human evolution, trabecular bone
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biological Anthropology
Depositing User: Matthew Skinner
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2020 08:13 UTC
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2020 23:00 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/80410 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Dunmore, Christopher J.: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8634-9777
Bardo, Ameline: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1840-6423
Kivell, Tracy L.: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5087-0897
Skinner, Matthew M.: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8321-3543
  • Depositors only (login required):

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year