What did Hadropithecus eat, and why should paleoanthropologists care?

Journal article


Godfrey, L., Crowley, B., Muldoon, K., Kelley, E., King, S., Best, A. and Berthaume, M. (2016). What did Hadropithecus eat, and why should paleoanthropologists care? American Journal of Primatology. 78 (10), pp. 1098-1112. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.22506
AuthorsGodfrey, L., Crowley, B., Muldoon, K., Kelley, E., King, S., Best, A. and Berthaume, M.
Abstract

Over 40 years ago, Clifford Jolly noted different ways in which Hadropithecus stenognathus converged in its craniodental anatomy with basal hominins and with geladas. The Malagasy subfossil lemur Hadropithecus departs from its sister taxon, Archaeolemur, in that it displays comparatively large molars, reduced incisors and canines, a shortened rostrum, and thickened mandibular corpus. Its molars, however, look nothing like those of basal hominins; rather, they much more closely resemble molars of grazers such as Theropithecus. A number of tools have been used to interpret these traits, including dental microwear and texture analysis, molar internal and external morphology, and finite element analysis of crania. These tools, however, have failed to provide support for a simple dietary interpretation; whereas there is some consistency in the inferences they support, dietary inferences (e.g., that it was graminivorous, or that it specialized on hard objects) have been downright contradictory. Cranial shape may correlate poorly with diet. But a fundamental question remains unresolved: why do the various cranial and dental convergences exemplified by Hadropithecus, basal hominins, and Theropithecus exist? In this paper we review prior hypotheses regarding the diet of Hadropithecus. We then use stable carbon and nitrogen isotope data to elucidate this species' diet, summarizing earlier stable isotope analyses and presenting new data for lemurs from the central highlands of Madagascar, where Hadropithecus exhibits an isotopic signature strikingly different from that seen in other parts of the island. We offer a dietary explanation for these differences. Hadropithecus likely specialized neither on grasses nor hard objects; its staples were probably the succulent leaves of CAM plants. Nevertheless, aspects of prior hypotheses regarding the ecological significance of its morphology can be supported.

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Godfrey, L. R., Crowley, B. E., Muldoon, K. M., Kelley, E. A., King, S. J., Best, A. W. and Berthaume, M. A. (2016), What did Hadropithecus eat, and why should paleoanthropologists care?. Am. J. Primatol. , 78: 1098-1112. , which has been published in final form at 10.1002/ajp.22506. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

Keywordscrassulacean acid metabolism; Hadropithecus; δ13C; δ15N
Year2016
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Journal citation78 (10), pp. 1098-1112
PublisherWiley Periodicals, Inc.
ISSN0275-2565
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.22506
Publication dates
Print19 Sep 2016
Publication process dates
Accepted30 Oct 2015
Deposited13 Nov 2019
Accepted author manuscript
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Open
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