Phyletic Affinities and Functional Convergence in Dryopithecus and Other Miocene and Living Hominids

  • David R. Begun
  • László Kordos
Part of the Advances in Primatology book series (AIPR)


Dryopithecus provides a good case history illustrating the disagreement and confusion over Miocene hominoid systematics described in the introduction to this volume. Dryopithecus is currently known from well-preserved maxilla and other portions of the cranium, from larger numbers of isolated teeth, and from well-preserved postcrania, mostly from Hungary (Rudabánya) and Spain (Can Llobateres and Can Ponsic). It is for the most part fossils from Spain and Hungary that permit a more detailed analysis of the functional anatomy and phylogenetic affinities of Dryopithecus. In this chapter we will briefly review the anatomy of Dryopithecus in comparison with other hominoids. The functional and behavioral implications of this anatomy will be briefly discussed and a phylogenetic alternative chosen on the basis of functional and phylogenetic criteria (see introduction to the volume and below). The implications for the evolution of hominid dietary and positional behavior will be discussed.


Character State Humeral Shaft Sister Clade Bicipital Groove Incisive Canal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aiello, L. C., and Dean, C. 1990. An Introduction to Human Evolutionary Anatomy. Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  2. Alpagut, B., Andrews, P., and Martin, L. 1990. New Miocene hominoid specimens from the middle Miocene site at Palalar. J. Hum. Evol. 19: 397–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andrews, P. 1985. Family group systematics and evolution among catarrhine primates. In: E. Delson (ed.), Ancestors: The Hard Evidence, pp. 14–22. Liss, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Andrews, P. 1992. Evolution and environment in the Hominoidea. Nature 360: 641–646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Andrews, P.,and Martin, L. B. 1987. Cladistic relationships of extant and fossil hominoids. J. Hum. Evol. 16:101–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Andrews, P., and Martin, L. 1991. Hominoid dietary evolution. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London Ser. B 334: 199–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Atchley, W. R., Cowley, D. E., Vogel, C., and McLellan, T. 1992. Evolutionary divergence, shape change, and genetic correlation in the structure of the rodent mandible. Syst. Biol. 41: 196–221.Google Scholar
  8. Beard, K. C., Teaford, M. F., and Walker, A. 1986. New wrist bones of Proconsul africanus and P. nyanzae from Rusinga Island, Kenya. Folia Primatol. 47: 97–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Begun, D. R. 1987. A Review of the Genus Dryopithecus. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  10. Begun, D. R. 1989. A large pliopithecine molar from Germany and some notes on the Pliopithecinae. Folia Primatol. 52: 156–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Begun, D. R. 1992a. Miocene fossil hominids and the chimp-human clade. Science 257: 1929–1933.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Begun, D. R. 1992b. Phyletic diversity and locomotion in primitive European hominids. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 87: 311–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Begun, D. R. 1994. Relations among the great apes and humans: New interpretations based on the fossil great ape Dryopithecus. Yearb. Phys. Anthropol. 37: 11–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Begun, D. R. 1995. Late Miocene European orang-utans, gorillas, humans, or none of the above? J. Hum. Evol. 29: 169–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Begun, D. R., and Kordos, L. 1993. Revision of Dryopithecus brancoi Schlosser, 1901, based on the fossil hominoid material from Rudabânya. J. Hum. Evol. 25: 271–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dean, D., and Delson, E. 1992. Second gorilla or third chimp? Nature 359: 676–677.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Delson, E. 1985. Catarrhine evolution. In: E. Delson (ed.), Ancestors: The Hard Evidence, pp. 9–13. Liss, New York.Google Scholar
  18. Dobzhansky, T., Ayala, F. J., Stebbins, G. L., and Valentine, J. W. 1977. Evolution. W. H. Freeman and Company, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  19. Evans, F. G., and Krahl, V. E. 1945. The torsion of the humerus: A phylogenetic study from fish to man. Am. J. Anat. 76: 303–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Farris, J. S. 1988. Hennig 86 Reference, Version 1.5 [software manual].Google Scholar
  21. Gebo, D. L. 1992. Plantigrady and foot adaptation in African apes: Implications for hominid origins. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 89: 29–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Harrison, T. 1987. The phylogenetic relationships of the early catarrhine primates: A review of the current evidence. J. Hum. Evol. 16: 41–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hylander, W. L. 1975. Incisor size and diet in anthropoids with special reference to the Cercopithecidae. Science 189: 1095–1098.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hylander, W. L. 1979. Mandibular function in Galago crassicaudatus and Macaca fascicularis: An in vivo approach to stress analysis of the mandible. J. Morphol. 159: 253–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hylander, W. L. 1988. Implications of in vivo experiments for interpreting the functional significance of “robust” australopithecine jaws. In: F. E. Grine (ed.), Evolutionary History of the “robust” Australopithecines, pp. 55–83. Aldine de Gruyter, New York.Google Scholar
  26. Inouye, S. E. 1992. Ontogeny and allometry of African ape manual rays. J. Hum. Evol. 26: 459–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Johanson, D. C., Taieb, M., and Coppens, Y. 1982. Pliocene hominids from the Hadar Formation, Ethiopia (1973–1977): Stratigraphic, chronologie, and paleoenvironmental contexts, with notes on hominid morphology and systematics. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 57: 373–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kappelman, J., Kelley, J., Pilbeam, D., Sheikh, K. A., Ward, S., Anwar, M., Barry, J. C., Brown, B., Hake, P., Johnson, N. M., Raza, S. M., and Shah, S. M. I. 1991. The earliest occurrence of Sivapithecus from the middle Miocene Chinji Formation of Pakistan. J. Hum. Evol. 21: 61–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kay, R. F. 1981. The nut-crackers: A theory of the adaptations of the Ramapithecinae. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 55: 141–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kay, R. F. 1985. Dental evidence for the diet of Australopithecus. Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 14: 315–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kay, R. F., and Covert, H. H. 1984. Anatomy and behavior of extinct primates. In D. J. Chivers, B. A. Wood, and A. Bilsborough (eds.), Food Acquisition and Processing in Primates, pp. 467–508. Cambridge University Press, London.Google Scholar
  32. Kay, R. F., and Hylander, W. L. 1978. The dental structure of mammalian folivores with special reference to Primates and Phalangeroidea. In G. G. Montgomery (ed.), The Ecology of Arboreal Folivores, pp. 173–192. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  33. Kordos, L. 1990. Analysis of tooth morphotypes of Neogene hominoids. Anthropol. Hung. 21: 11–24.Google Scholar
  34. Kordos, L., and Begun, D. R. 1996. A new reconstruction of RUD 77, a partial cranium of Dryopithecus brancoi from Ruddbanya, Hungary (submitted for publication).Google Scholar
  35. Leakey, M. G., Feibel, C. S., McDougall, I., and Walker, A. 1995. New four-million-year-old hominid species from Kanapoi and Allia Bay, Kenya. Nature 376: 565–571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lewis, O. J. 1989. Functional Morphology of the Evolving Hand and Foot. Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  37. McCrossin, M. L., and Benefit, B. R. 1993. Recently recovered Kenyapithecus mandible and its implications for great ape and human origins. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 90: 1962–1966.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Morbeck, M. E. 1975. Dryopithecus africanus forelimb. J. Hum. Evol. 4: 39–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Morbeck, M. E. 1983. Miocene hominoid discoveries from Rudabânya: Implications from the postcranial skeleton. In: R. L. Ciochon and R. S. Corruccini (eds.), New Interpretations of Ape and Human Ancestry, pp. 369–404. Plenum Press, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Moyà-Solà, S., and Köhler, M. 1996. A Dryopithecus skeleton and the origins of great ape locomotion. Nature 379: 156–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Napier, J. R., and Davis, P. R. 1959. The forelimb skeleton and associated remains of Proconsul africanus. Br. Mus. Nat. Hist. Fossil Mamm. Afr. 16: 1–69.Google Scholar
  42. Pilbeam, D. R., Rose, M. D., Barry, J. C., and Shah, S. M. I. 1990. New Sivapithecus humeri from Pakistan and the relationship of Sivapithecus and Pongo. Nature 348: 237–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pilbeam, D. R., and Simons, E. L. 1971. Humerus of Dryopithecus from Saint Gaudens, France. Nature 229: 406–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rak, Y. 1983. The Australopithecine Face. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  45. Robinson, J. T. 1956. The dentition of the Australopithecinae. Mem. Tvl. Mus. 9: 1–179.Google Scholar
  46. Rose, M. D. 1983. Miocene hominoid postcranial morphology: Monkey-like, ape-like, neither, or both? In: R. L. Ciochon and R. S. Corruccini (eds.), New Interpretations of Ape and Human Ancestry, pp. 405–417. Plenum Press, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rose, M. D. 1988. Another look at the anthropoid elbow. J. Hum. Evol. 17: 193–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rose, M. D. 1992. Kinematics of the trapezium-1st metacarpal joint in extant anthropoids and Miocene hominoids. J. Hum. Evol. 22: 255–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sarmiento, E. 1987. The phyletic position of Oreopithecus and its significance in the origin of the Hominoidea. Am. Mus. Novit. 2881: 1–44.Google Scholar
  50. Shea, B. T. 1988. Phylogeny and skull form in the hominoid primates. In J. H. Schwartz (ed.), Orang-utan Biology, pp. 233–245. Oxford University Press, London.Google Scholar
  51. Teaford, M. F., and Walker, A. C. 1984. Quantitative differences in dental microwear between primate species with different diets and a comment on the presumed diet of Sivapithecus. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 64: 191–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Tobias, P. V. 1967. The Cranium and Maxillary Dentition of Australopithecus (Zinjanthropus) boisei, Vol. 2: Olduvai Gorge. Cambridge University Press, London.Google Scholar
  53. Ward, S. C., and Pilbeam, D. R. 1983. Maxillofacial morphology of Miocene hominoids from Africa and Indo-Pakistan. In: R. L. Ciochon and R. S. Corruccini (eds.), New Interpretations of Ape and Human Ancestry, pp. 211–238. Plenum Press, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. White, T., Suwa, G., and Asfaw, B. 1994. Australopithecus ramidus: A new species of early hominid from Aramis, Ethiopia. Nature 371: 306–312.Google Scholar
  55. Wolpoff, M. H. 1973. Posterior tooth size, body size, and diet in South African gracile australopithecine.. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 39: 375–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • David R. Begun
    • 1
  • László Kordos
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.The Hungarian Geological MuseumBudapestHungary

Personalised recommendations