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Australopithecus sediba hand demonstrates mosaic evolution of locomotor and manipulative abilities


Kivell, T L; Kibii, J M; Churchill, S E; Schmid, P; Berger, L R (2011). Australopithecus sediba hand demonstrates mosaic evolution of locomotor and manipulative abilities. Science, 333(6048):1411-1417.

Abstract

Hand bones from a single individual with a clear taxonomic affiliation are scarce in the hominin fossil record, which has hampered understanding the evolution of manipulative abilities in hominins. Here we describe and analyze a nearly complete wrist and hand of an adult female [Malapa Hominin 2 (MH2)] Australopithecus sediba from Malapa, South Africa (1.977 million years ago). The hand presents a suite of Australopithecus-like features, such as a strong flexor apparatus associated with arboreal locomotion, and Homo-like features, such as a long thumb and short fingers associated with precision gripping and possibly stone tool production. Comparisons to other fossil hominins suggest that there were at least two distinct hand morphotypes around the Plio-Pleistocene transition. The MH2 fossils suggest that Au. sediba may represent a basal condition associated with early stone tool use and production.

Abstract

Hand bones from a single individual with a clear taxonomic affiliation are scarce in the hominin fossil record, which has hampered understanding the evolution of manipulative abilities in hominins. Here we describe and analyze a nearly complete wrist and hand of an adult female [Malapa Hominin 2 (MH2)] Australopithecus sediba from Malapa, South Africa (1.977 million years ago). The hand presents a suite of Australopithecus-like features, such as a strong flexor apparatus associated with arboreal locomotion, and Homo-like features, such as a long thumb and short fingers associated with precision gripping and possibly stone tool production. Comparisons to other fossil hominins suggest that there were at least two distinct hand morphotypes around the Plio-Pleistocene transition. The MH2 fossils suggest that Au. sediba may represent a basal condition associated with early stone tool use and production.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:29 Feb 2012 13:42
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 11:47
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
ISSN:0036-8075
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1202625

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