News of the WeekHUMAN EVOLUTION

Forming the Robust Australopithecine Face

Science  09 Apr 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5412, pp. 230-231
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5412.230b

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Summary

On the basis of their many facial similarities, recent analyses have concluded that the three species of robust australopithecines that roamed the savannas of Africa some 2 million years ago form their own small hominid family. Now on page 301, an anatomist offers a new explanation for why these hominids look the way they do--and suggests that they may not be so closely related after all. She argues that the shared facial traits are the developmental consequences of a single character--a unique combination of cow-sized molars and small front teeth.

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