Dental topography and the diet of Homo naledi

Journal article


Berthaume, M., Delezene, L. and Kupczik, K. (2018). Dental topography and the diet of Homo naledi. Journal of Human Evolution. 118, pp. 14-26.
AuthorsBerthaume, M., Delezene, L. and Kupczik, K.
Abstract

Though late Middle Pleistocene in age, Homo naledi is characterized by a mosaic of Australopithecus-like (e.g., curved fingers, small brains) and Homo-like (e.g., elongated lower limbs) traits, which may suggest it occupied a unique ecological niche. Ecological reconstructions inform on niche occupation, and are particularly successful when using dental material. Tooth shape (via dental topography) and size were quantified for four groups of South African Plio-Pleistocene hominins (specimens of Australopithecus africanus, Paranthropus robustus, H. naledi, and Homo sp.) on relatively unworn M2s to investigate possible ecological differentiation in H. naledi relative to taxa with similar known geographical ranges. H. naledi has smaller, but higher-crowned and more wear resistant teeth than Australopithecus and Paranthropus. These results are found in both lightly and moderately worn teeth. There are no differences in tooth sharpness or complexity. Combined with the high level of dental chipping in H. naledi, this suggests that, relative to Australopithecus and Paranthropus, H. naledi consumed foods with similar fracture mechanics properties but more abrasive particles (e.g., dust, grit), which could be due to a dietary and/or environmental shift(s). The same factors that differentiate H. naledi from Australopithecus and Paranthropus may also differentiate it from Homo sp., which geologically predates it, in the same way. Compared to the great apes, all hominins have sharper teeth, indicating they consumed foods requiring higher shear forces during mastication. Despite some anatomical similarities, H. naledi likely occupied a distinct ecological niche from the South African hominins that predate it.

KeywordsAustralopithecus africanus; Paranthropus robustus; South African Homo; Dental topography; Dietary reconstruction
Year2018
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Journal citation118, pp. 14-26
PublisherElsevier
ISSN0047-2484
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2018.02.006
Publication dates
Print05 Mar 2018
Publication process dates
Accepted08 Feb 2018
Deposited22 Nov 2019
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
File Access Level
Open
Permalink -

https://openresearch.lsbu.ac.uk/item/88795

  • 4
    total views
  • 2
    total downloads
  • 2
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month

Related outputs

Fabella prevalence rate increases over 150 years, and rates of other sesamoid bones remain constant: a systematic review
Berthaume, M., Di Federico, E. and Bill, A. (2019). Fabella prevalence rate increases over 150 years, and rates of other sesamoid bones remain constant: a systematic review. Journal of Anatomy. 235, pp. 67-79.
Effects of cropping, smoothing, triangle count, and mesh resolution on 6 dental topographic metrics
Berthaume, M., Winchester, J. and Kupczik, K (2019). Effects of cropping, smoothing, triangle count, and mesh resolution on 6 dental topographic metrics. PLoS ONE. 14 (5), p. e0216229.
Ambient occlusion and PCV (portion de ciel visible): A new dental topographic metric and proxy of morphological wear resistance
Berthaume, M., Winchester, J. and Kupczik, K. (2019). Ambient occlusion and PCV (portion de ciel visible): A new dental topographic metric and proxy of morphological wear resistance. PLoS ONE. 14 (5), p. e0215436.
Human biological variation in sesamoid bone prevalence: the curious case of the fabella
Berthaume, M. and Bull, A.M.J. (2019). Human biological variation in sesamoid bone prevalence: the curious case of the fabella. Journal of Anatomy.
Extant ape dental topography and its implications for reconstructing the emergence of early Homo
Berthaume, M. and Schroer, K. (2017). Extant ape dental topography and its implications for reconstructing the emergence of early Homo. Journal of Human Evolution. 112, pp. 15-29.
Functional and evolutionary consequences of cranial fenestration in birds
Gussekloo, S., Berthaume, M., Pulaski, D., Westbroek, I., Waarsing, J., Heinen, R., Grosse, I. and Dumont, E. (2017). Functional and evolutionary consequences of cranial fenestration in birds. Evolution. 71 (5), pp. 1327-1338.
Skeletal Immaturity, Rostral Sparing, and Disparate Hip Morphologies as Biomechanical Causes for Legg-Calve-Perthes’ Disease
Berthaume, M., Perry, D.C., Dobson, C., Witzel, U., Clarke, N.M. and Fagan, M. (2016). Skeletal Immaturity, Rostral Sparing, and Disparate Hip Morphologies as Biomechanical Causes for Legg-Calve-Perthes’ Disease . Clinical Anatomy.
On the relationship between tooth shape and masticatory efficiency: a finite element study
Berthaume, M. (2016). On the relationship between tooth shape and masticatory efficiency: a finite element study. The Anatomical Record. 299 (5), pp. 679-687.
Food mechanical properties and dietary ecology
Berthaume, M. (2016). Food mechanical properties and dietary ecology. Americal Journal of Physical Anthropology. 159, pp. 79-104.
What did Hadropithecus eat, and why should paleoanthropologists care?
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.
Mechanical evidence that Australopithecus sediba was limited in its ability to eat hard foods
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).
The Feeding Biomechanics and Dietary Ecology of Paranthropus boisei
Smith, A., Benazzi, S, Ledogar, J., Tamvada, K., Pryor Smith, L., Weber, G., Spencer, M., Lucas, P., Michael, S., Shekeban, A., Al-Fadhalah, K., Almusallam, A, Dechow, P., Grosse, I., Ross, C., Madden, R., Richmond, B., Wright, B., Wang, Q, Byron, C., Slice, D., Wood, S., Dzialo, C., Berthaume, M., van Casteren, A. and Strait, D. (2015). The Feeding Biomechanics and Dietary Ecology of Paranthropus boisei. The Anatomical Record. 298 (1), pp. 145-167.
The effects of relative food item size on optimal tooth cusp sharpness during brittle food item processing
Berthaume, M., Dumont, E., Godfrey, L. and Grosse, I. (2014). The effects of relative food item size on optimal tooth cusp sharpness during brittle food item processing. Interface. 11 (101), p. 20140965.