Early hominin auditory ossicles from South Africa



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Quama, Rolf M. and Ruiterd,, Darryl J. de and Masali, Melchiorre and Arsuaga Ferreras, Juan Luis and Martínez Mendizábal, Ignacio and Moggi Cecchii, Jacopo (2013) Early hominin auditory ossicles from South Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110 (22). pp. 8847-8851. ISSN 0027-8424

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Official URL: https://www.pnas.org/content/110/22


The middle ear ossicles are only rarely preserved in fossil hominins. Here, we report the discovery of a complete ossicular chain (malleus, incus, and stapes) of Paranthropus robustus as well as additional ear ossicles from Australopithecus africanus. The malleus in both early hominin taxa is clearly human-like in the proportions of the manubrium and corpus, whereas the incus and stapes resemble African and Asian great apes more closely. A deep phylogenetic origin is proposed for the derived malleus morphology, and this may represent one of the earliest human-like features to appear in the fossil record. The anatomical differences found in the early hominin incus and stapes, along with other aspects of the outer, middle, and inner ear, are consistent with the suggestion of different auditory capacities in these early hominin taxa compared with modern humans.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Paranthropus robustus; South Africa; Hominids
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
ID Code:64947
Deposited On:20 Apr 2021 05:59
Last Modified:20 Apr 2021 10:01

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