Late Miocene Teeth from Middle Awash, Ethiopia, and Early Hominid Dental Evolution

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Science  05 Mar 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5663, pp. 1503-1505
DOI: 10.1126/science.1092978

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Late Miocene fossil hominid teeth recovered from Ethiopia's Middle Awash are assigned to Ardipithecus kadabba. Their primitive morphology and wear pattern demonstrate that A. kadabba is distinct from Ardipithecus ramidus. These fossils suggest that the last common ancestor of apes and humans had a functionally honing canine–third premolar complex. Comparison with teeth of Sahelanthropus and Orrorin, the two other named late Miocene hominid genera, implies that these putative taxa are very similar to A. kadabba. It is therefore premature to posit extensive late Miocene hominid diversity on the basis of currently available samples.

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