Maxillofacial Morphology of Miocene Hominoids from Africa and Indo-Pakistan

  • S. C. Ward
  • D. R. Pilbeam
Part of the Advances in Primatology book series (AIPR)


The contact of the Afro-Arabian Plate with Eurasia around 17 million years ago (m.y.a.) is associated with profound changes in Miocene faunal communities. At or about this time, a hominoid appeared in East Africa that was anatomically quite different from the Proconsul species complex that had been endemic there for over 6 million years. These differences involved elements of occlusal design, thickness of molar enamel caps, and gnathic buttressing, which showed a general increase in robusticity. By the mid 1970s, this combination of features had come to be regarded as exclusively characteristic of australopithecines or their immediate ancestors. Thus the presence of a hominoid with thick enamel and robust maxillae at Fort Ternan seemed to provide the oldest evidence of hominids (Simons, 1968; Andrews and Tekkaya, 1976; Simons and Pilbeam, 1978). The later discovery and diagnosis of Australopithecus afarensis from Pliocene deposits in Ethiopia and Tanzania (Johanson et al., 1978; Johanson and White, 1979) tended to further strengthen the argument that an animal like Ramapithecus from East Africa and Indo-Pakistan was ancestral to the earliest undoubted hominids.


Maxillary Sinus Alveolar Process Early Hominid Maxillary Canine Sinus Floor 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. C. Ward
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. R. Pilbeam
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyKent State UniversityKentUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnatomyNortheast Ohio Universities College of MedicineRootstownUSA
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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