Article

Molar microwear textures and the diets of Australopithecus anamensis and Australopithecus afarensis.

Department of Anthropology, University of Arkansas, Old Main 330, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA.
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences (Impact Factor: 6.31). 10/2010; 365(1556):3345-54. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0033
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Many researchers have suggested that Australopithecus anamensis and Australopithecus afarensis were among the earliest hominins to have diets that included hard, brittle items. Here we examine dental microwear textures of these hominins for evidence of this. The molars of three Au. anamensis and 19 Au. afarensis specimens examined preserve unobscured antemortem microwear. Microwear textures of these individuals closely resemble those of Paranthropus boisei, having lower complexity values than Australopithecus africanus and especially Paranthropus robustus. The microwear texture complexity values for Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis are similar to those of the grass-eating Theropithecus gelada and folivorous Alouatta palliata and Trachypithecus cristatus. This implies that these Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis individuals did not have diets dominated by hard, brittle foods shortly before their deaths. On the other hand, microwear texture anisotropy values for these taxa are lower on average than those of Theropithecus, Alouatta or Trachypithecus. This suggests that the fossil taxa did not have diets dominated by tough foods either, or if they did that directions of tooth-tooth movement were less constrained than in higher cusped and sharper crested extant primate grass eaters and folivores.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Mark F Teaford, Jun 24, 2015
1 Follower
 · 
140 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Late Miocene Oreopithecus bambolii has been posited as a folivore from its pronounced molar shearing crests. However, scanning electron microscopy yields conflicting results with one study of Oreopithecus showing folivory and another indicating a coarser diet was consumed. To address this debate, the dietary proclivities of the well-known IGF 11778 Oreopithecus bambolii specimen are reconstructed by comparing the enamel texture properties of this specimen to extant Alouatta palliata (n = 11), Cebus apella (n = 13), Gorilla gorilla (n = 9), Lophocebus albigena (n = 15), Pan troglodytes (n = 17) and Trachypithecus cristatus (n = 12). Dental microwear is captured by scanning facet 9, a Phase II facet on the hypoconid surface, using white-light confocal microscopy at 100x. The scanning was followed by scale-sensitive fractal analysis, yielding four texture characteristics. These were ranked before ANOVA with post-hoc tests of significance and multivariate analyses were conducted. Oreopithecus specimen IGF 11778 does not match any of the extant taxa consistently but in some analyses is associated with Lophocebus, and secondarily with Pan, Gorilla and Cebus outliers suggesting mixed-fruit and hard-object feeding characterized at least a portion of its diet. The partially open habitat of late Miocene Baccinello may have had resources with mechanically resistant foods, or foods found near ground level were consumed. Hard, brittle foods, insects, and or extraneous grit may have contributed to the greater use-wear complexity of the enamel surface observed in IGF 11778 compared to extant folivores. IGF 11778 does not exhibit the degree of anisotropy characterizing Trachypithecus and Alouatta. The partial resemblance of IGF 11778 to some great ape specimens may indicate intermittent extractive and or terrestrial foraging.
    Journal of anthropological sciences 07/2013; DOI:10.4436/jass.91006 · 1.70 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Areal surface texture analysis is becoming widespread across a diverse range of applications, from engineering to ecology. In many studies silicon based impression media are used to replicate surfaces, and the fidelity of replication defines the quality of data collected. However, while different investigators have used different impression media, the fidelity of surface replication has not been subjected to quantitative analysis based on areal texture data. Here we present the results of an analysis of the accuracy and precision with which different silicon based impression media of varying composition and viscosity replicate rough and smooth surfaces. Both accuracy and precision vary greatly between different media. High viscosity media tested show very low accuracy and precision, and most other compounds showed either the same pattern, or low accuracy and high precision, or low precision and high accuracy. Of the media tested, mid viscosity President Jet Regular Body and low viscosity President Jet Light Body (Coltène Whaledent) are the only compounds to show high levels of accuracy and precision on both surface types. Our results show that data acquired from different impression media are not comparable, supporting calls for greater standardisation of methods in areal texture analysis.
    Scientific Reports 05/2015; 5:10800. DOI:10.1038/srep10800 · 5.58 Impact Factor
  • Early Hominin Paleoecology, Edited by M.J. Sponheimer, P.S. Ungar, K. Reed, J. Lee-Thorp, 01/2013: pages 251-280; University of Colorado Press.