, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 205–223 | Cite as

The postcranium of Miocene hominoids: Were dryopithecines merely “dental apes”?

  • Robert S. Corruccini
  • Russell L. Ciochon
  • Henry M. McHenry


This paper reviews the non-dental morphological configuration of Miocene hominoids with special reference to the hypothesis of linear relationships between certain fossil species and living analogues. Metrical analysis of the wrist shows thatDryopithecus africanus andPliopithecus vindobonensis are unequivocally affiliated with the morphological pattern of quadrupedal monkeys. Similar analyses of the fossil hominoid elbow shows that they are more cercopithecoid-like than hominoid-like. Multivariate analysis of theP. vindobonensis shoulder in the matrix of extant Anthropoidea indicate that this putative hylobatine fossil shows no indication of even the initial development of hominoid features. The total morphological pattern of theD. africanus forelimb as assessed by principal coordinates analysis of allometrically adjusted shape variables has little resemblance toPan. Likewise, the feet and proximal femora of the Miocene fossils are unlike any living hominoid species. Even theD. africanus skull is similar to extant cercopithecoids in several features. Although ancestors cannot be expected to resemble descendants in every way, the striking dissimilarity between Miocene and extant hominoids seems to eliminate the consideration of a direct ancestor-descendant relationship between specific Miocene and modern forms.


Special Reference Proximal Femur Animal Ecology Metrical Analysis Shape Variable 
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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert S. Corruccini
    • 1
  • Russell L. Ciochon
    • 2
  • Henry M. McHenry
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Physical AnthropologySmithsonian InstitutionWashington, D.C.U S A
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyU S A
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of California, DavisDavisU S A

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