Article

Early hominid dental remains from Members 4 and 5 of the Sterkfontein Formation (1966-1996 excavations): catalogue, individual associations, morphological descriptions and initial metrical analysis.

Laboratori di Antropologia, Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e Genetica, Università di Firenze via del Proconsolo, 12, 50122 Firenze, Italy.
Journal of Human Evolution (Impact Factor: 3.87). 04/2006; 50(3):239-328. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2005.08.012
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The fossils recovered from the Sterkfontein Formation represent, without doubt, the largest collection of early hominid specimens from a single locality. Among the over 600 entries in the catalogue of fossil hominid specimens recovered since 1966, there are 242 dental remains (isolated teeth, jaws with two or more teeth, isolated teeth in association) for a total number of 495 teeth. The aim of this paper is to provide morphological descriptions of all hominid dental specimens recovered between 1968 and 1996 from areas presently known as Members 4 and 5 of the Sterkfontein site. Together with the descriptions, explanatory catalogue information is provided, along with basic measurements and summary statistics. This paper consists of six sections, with descriptive tables: (1) Catalogue of dental remains, arranged numerically. This includes isolated teeth, specimens with teeth still in position within their jaws, and specimens comprised of isolated teeth in association. (2) List of specimens with more complete dentition and the numbers of available teeth per tooth class. (3) List of specimens subdivided in tooth class, with an indication of their preservation, of the wear, if any, and with measurements (mesiodistal and buccolingual diameters) of the individual teeth. (4) List of associations of isolated teeth as individuals i.e. dental remains that can be associated with one another. Some remarks on the relative abundance of maxillary versus mandibular teeth, and on the numbers of available teeth are presented. (5) Morphological descriptions. (6) Summary statistics for the entire Sterkfontein sample (thus including specimens recovered both before and after 1966) and updated descriptive statistics for South African early hominids (A. africanus, A. robustus, South African early Homo). We have compared the coefficients of variation for the MD and BL diameters of the permanent teeth of the Sterkfontein Member 4 hypodigm of A. africanus with the hypodigms of the early hominid taxa. The results show that the Sterkfontein Member 4 sample is not consistently more variable than the other fossil hominid samples analysed; it turned out to be generally less variable than H. habilis sensu lato and A. boisei; it shows overall similar levels of variability to A. afarensis and higher levels than A. robustus. These results, per se, do not provide evidence of the existence of multiple species in the Sterkfontein Member 4 sample.

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Available from: Jacopo Moggi-Cecchi, Jun 15, 2015
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    • "The relative warps analysis of M 2 s reveals a general overlapping of most hominin species. Earlier species plot at the negative half for PC1, and they have similar morphologies (Wood and Engleman, 1988; Tobias, 1991; Moggi-Cecchi et al., 2006; Martinón-Torres et al., 2008), at least in the general disposition of the four main cusps. On the contrary, latest Homo species show the complete range from fully developed 4-cusped molars to strongly reduced molars with only three cusps, but they are the only ones showing the reduced conformation. "
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    • "Similarly, at Sterkfontein, SE 255 derives from Member 5 " West " and while it might represent H. erectus, many workers have considered it to represent the same species as Stw 53 (i.e., something with closer affinities to Homo habilis). Of course, the Member 5 deposit is not a single deposit, and it does contain material that is most likely attributable to H. erectus (e.g., the Stw 80 mandible from Member 5 " West " [Kuman and Clarke, 2000; Moggi-Cecchi et al., 2006]). Thus, while it is not unreasonable to place SE 255 in the H. erectus sample as we have done, we wish to point out that there is a controversy over the species attribution in Sterkfontein Member 5. "
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    • "Author's personal copy 1999; Brain, 1981) including the important hominin remains of Paranthropus robustus (Member 5b), early Homo (Member 5c), Australopithecus africanus (Member 4) (Lockwood and Tobias, 2002; Moggi-Cecchi et al., 2006 "
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