New hominid article

John Grehan jgrehan at SCIENCEBUFF.ORG
Fri Dec 10 17:30:03 CST 2004

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


Dr. John R. Grehan

Director of Science and Collections

Buffalo Museum of Science1020 Humboldt Parkway

Buffalo, NY 14211-1193

email: jgrehan at

Phone: (716) 896-5200 ext 372



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