Early hominid femora: The inside story


en Comptes Rendus Palevol 5 (1-2) - Pages 99-108

Published on 28 February 2006

This article is a part of the thematic issue Climates - Culture - Society in prehistoric times. From the appearance of hominids to the Neolithic.

Paleontology allows exploration of evolutionary novelty in the deep past. But paleontological taxa are at risk of being inaccurately characterized by modern humans who are over-reliant on models taken from the comparatively rich but relatively evolved neontological world. The recent discovery of the earliest hominid femora from Kenya provides an opportunity to explore earliest hominid locomotion beyond the usual constraints of phylogenetic and functional models based rigidly on contemporary species. The full measure of this opportunity remains unrealized because the internal structure of the crucial fossil femora recovered has been inadequately explored and documented. One result is that phylogenetic schemes purporting to exclude all hominids except Orrorin from human ancestry are unsupported. Another result may be that earliest hominid locomotion has been inaccurately portrayed.


Hominid, femur, Miocene, fossil, Paleontology, Africa, locomotion

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