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The postcranial skeletal maturation of Australopithecus sediba

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journal contribution
posted on 03.07.2017, 09:05 by Noel Cameron, Barry Bogin, Debra Bolter, Lee R. Berger
OBJECTIVES: In 2008, an immature hominin defined as the holotype of the new species Australopithecus sediba was discovered at the 1.9 million year old Malapa site in South Africa. The specimen (MH1) includes substantial post-cranial skeletal material, and provides a unique opportunity to assess its skeletal maturation. METHODS: Skeletal maturity indicators observed on the proximal and distal humerus, proximal ulna, distal radius, third metacarpal, ilium and ischium, proximal femur and calcaneus were used to assess the maturity of each bone in comparison to references for modern humans and for wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). RESULTS: In comparison to humans the skeletal maturational ages for Au. sediba correspond to between 12.0 years and 15.0 years with a mean (SD) age of 13.1 (1.1) years. In comparison to the maturational pattern of chimpanzees the Au. sediba indicators suggest a skeletal maturational age of 9-11 years. Based on either of these skeletal maturity estimates and the body length at death of MH1, an adult height of 150-156 cm is predicted. DISCUSSION: We conclude that the skeletal remains of MH1 are consistent with an ape-like pattern of maturity when dental age estimates are also taken into consideration. This maturity schedule in australopiths is consistent with ape-like estimates of age at death for the Nariokotome Homo erectus remains (KMN-WT 15000), which are of similar postcranial immaturity to MH1. The findings suggest that humans may have distinctive and delayed post-cranial schedules from australopiths and H. erectus, implicating a recent evolution of somatic and possibly life history strategies in human evolution.

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Am J Phys Anthropol

Volume

163

Issue

3

Pages

633-640

Citation

CAMERON, N. ...et al., 2017. The postcranial skeletal maturation of Australopithecus sediba. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 163(3), pp. 633–640.

Publisher

© Wiley

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date

10/04/2017

Publication date

2017-05-02

Notes

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: CAMERON, N. ...et al., 2017. The postcranial skeletal maturation of Australopithecus sediba. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 163(3), pp. 633–640, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23234. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

ISSN

0002-9483

eISSN

1096-8644

Language

en

Location

United States

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