Mechanical evidence that Australopithecus sediba was limited in its ability to eat hard foods

Journal article


Ledogar, J., Smith, A., Benazzi, S., Weber, G., Spencer, M., Carlson, K., McNulty, K., Dechow, P., Grosse, I., Ross, C., Richmond, B., Wright, B., Wang, Q., Byron, C., Carlson, K., de Ruiter, D., Berger, L., Tamvada, K., Pryor, L., Berthaume, M. and Strait, D. (2016). Mechanical evidence that Australopithecus sediba was limited in its ability to eat hard foods. Nature Communications. 7 (1). https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms10596
AuthorsLedogar, J., Smith, A., Benazzi, S., Weber, G., Spencer, M., Carlson, K., McNulty, K., Dechow, P., Grosse, I., Ross, C., Richmond, B., Wright, B., Wang, Q., Byron, C., Carlson, K., de Ruiter, D., Berger, L., Tamvada, K., Pryor, L., Berthaume, M. and Strait, D.
Abstract

Australopithecus sediba has been hypothesized to be a close relative of the genus Homo. Here we show that MH1, the type specimen of A. sediba, was not optimized to produce high molar bite force and appears to have been limited in its ability to consume foods that were mechanically challenging to eat. Dental microwear data have previously been
interpreted as indicating that A. sediba consumed hard foods, so our findings illustrate that mechanical data are essential if one aims to reconstruct a relatively complete picture of feeding adaptations in extinct hominins. An implication of our study is that the key to understanding the origin of Homo lies in understanding how environmental changes disrupted gracile australopith niches. Resulting selection pressures led to changes in diet and dietary adaption that set the stage for the emergence of our genus.

Year2016
JournalNature Communications
Journal citation7 (1)
PublisherSpringer Nature Publishing
ISSN2041-1723
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms10596
Publication dates
Print08 Feb 2016
Publication process dates
Accepted04 Jan 2016
Deposited13 Nov 2019
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
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