New hominid article

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Dec 10 20:31:52 CST 2004

     Well, that is a tantalizing introduction to the paper, but probably not a paper to which many people will have ready access any time soon.

     But just off hand, I am frankly most concerned with the implication (or is it a definite conclusion?) that the lower jaw (a paratype) is not the same species as the cranium/upper jaw (the holotype).  Would this detract substantially from the view that the holotype is a hominid (and I mean "hominid" sensu stricto, not including chimps and gorillas)?
    ------- Ken Kinman
P.S.  Isn't the thick supra-orbital torus thought to be a sexual dimorphic characteristic, and thus of relatively  marginal importance in this debate?

John Grehan wrote:

Those interested the problematic situation regarding the quality of hominid systematics (as I have raised in earlier postings, much of the systematic work on fossil hominids is pretty bad if not awful) might be interested in the following publication:

Schwartz, J.H. 2004. Issues in hominid systematics. Pp. 360-371 in Baquedano, E and Jara, R. (eds) 2004. Miscelánea en homeaje a Emiliano Aguirre" Zona Arquológica 4, Vol III. Meuso Arqueológico Regional de la Comunidad de Madrid, Madrid.

This paper covers a number of severe problems in fossil hominid systematics, including:

1.      The claim for a reduction of canine size and loss of diastema in Ardipithecus and Sahelanthropus as defining their hominid status would result in some later australopiths being removed from being hominids as they do not show these characteristics.
2.      Claims for the upper canine being incisiform are not supported by the actual teeth which are apically pointed and triangular in buccal profile.
3.      Convolutions in reasoning for explaining dental enamel thickness that are made necessary by appealing to a common ancestor with the chimpanzee.
4.      Sahelanthropus has the uniquely thickest continuous supra-orbital torus of any fossil or living catarrhine which does not fit with it being a hominid. It also appears to have a unique third molar (which would put it out of being a direct 'ancestor'. Also the upper and lower jaws of Sahelanthropus do not go together.

John Grehan

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