Australopithecus slipping away

John Grehan jgrehan at SCIENCEBUFF.ORG
Mon Jul 28 13:19:07 CDT 2003

I've been finding that a lot is made out of the supra-orbital region of the
chimpanzee and Australopithecus, with the two being linked by a supposed
shared feature in this respect. However, it turns out that the
supra-orbital bar of the chimpanzee protrudes forward as well as upward,
and that there is a distinct depression behind the bar in the center. This
is not the case for Australopithecus. There is some upraising of the
supra-orbital region, but it does not project forward and neither is there
a bar across the center between the two orbits of Australopithecus.
Australopithecus continues to look less and less like an African ape.

I talked to one well established primate fossil specialist who contended
that in overall similarity Australopithecus is more similar to the chimp
than the orangutan, but he rejected cladistics and rejected the notion of
listing specific characters in support of his view.


Dr. John Grehan
Director of Science and Collections
Buffalo Museum of Science
1020 Humboldt Parkway
Buffalo, New York 14211-1293
Voice 716-896-5200 x372
Fax 716-897-6723
jgrehan at

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