Origins of the African hominoids: an assessment of the palaeobiogeographical evidence

Susanne M. COTE

en Comptes Rendus Palevol 3 (4) - Pages 323-340

Published on 31 July 2004

This article is a part of the thematic issue The first hominids

The origin of the African hominoid clade is a matter of current debate, with one hypothesis proposing that chimpanzees, humans, and gorillas originated in tropical Africa, while another suggests they originated in Eurasia. Support for the latter hypothesis includes biogeographical patterns inferred from the fossil record and proposed Miocene hominoid phylogenetic relationships. The absence of fossil apes from the African Late Miocene has been used as evidence that crown hominoids were not present in Africa during this period. An alternative explanation for the paucity of these hominoids is that biases in collection and preservation have affected the African Miocene fossil record. A survey of currently known African Later Miocene sites and their faunas shows that these sites generally do not contain hominoids because of small sample sizes, poor preservation, or inappropriate habitat sampling. These preservation biases have important implications for evaluating the origins of the Homininae.


Hominoids, Africa, Late Miocene, chimpanzee fossils, taphonomy

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