Serial allocations of isolated mandibular molars of unknown taxonomic affinities from the Shungura and Unso Formations, Ethiopia, a combined method approach
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- Suwa, G. Hum. Evol. (1996) 11: 269. doi:10.1007/BF02436630
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The early hominid dental remains from the Omo succession represent a fragmentary but important source of information regarding hominid evolution during the 2 to 3 myr time period. As an initial step toward the evaluation of taxonomic affinities and evolutionary significance, the present study attempts serial allocations of 21 isolated mandibular molars from the Shungura and Usno Formations. A comparative sample consisting of 250 mandibular molars ofA.afarensis, A.africanus, A.robustus, A.boisei and earlyHomo was used to compile the baseline data for allocating the isolated Omo molars to serial positions. The methods employed in the present study include morphometric analyses of 5 cusp areas, 8 linear variables reflecting crown shape, and 4 measurements of fissure pattern. It was found that by combining morphological observations with both “restricted” and “non-restricted” applications of discriminant function analyses (sensu Albrecht, 1992), sufficiently reliable serial allocations could be attained.