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Research Article

First Partial Skeleton of a 1.34-Million-Year-Old Paranthropus boisei from Bed II, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

  • Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo mail,

    m.dominguez.rodrigo@gmail.com

    Affiliations: Instituto de Evolución en África, Museo de los Orígenes, Madrid, Spain, Department of Prehistory, Complutense University, Madrid, Spain

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  • Travis Rayne Pickering,

    Affiliations: Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America, Evolutionary Studies Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, Plio-Pleistocene Palaeontology Section, Department of Vertebrates, Ditsong National Museum of Natural History (Transvaal Museum), Pretoria, South Africa

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  • Enrique Baquedano,

    Affiliations: Instituto de Evolución en África, Museo de los Orígenes, Madrid, Spain, Museo Arqueológico Regional, Plaza de las Bernardas s/n, Madrid, Spain

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  • Audax Mabulla,

    Affiliation: Archaeology Unit, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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  • Darren F. Mark,

    Affiliation: Natural Environment Research Council Argon Isotope Facility, Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, East Kilbride, Scotland, United Kingdom

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  • Charles Musiba,

    Affiliation: Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado, United States of America

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  • Henry T. Bunn,

    Affiliation: Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

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  • David Uribelarrea,

    Affiliation: Department of Geodynamics, Complutense University, Madrid, Spain

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  • Victoria Smith,

    Affiliation: Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

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  • Fernando Diez-Martin,

    Affiliation: Department of Prehistory and Archaeology, University of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain

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  • Alfredo Pérez-González,

    Affiliation: Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana, Burgos, Spain

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  • Policarpo Sánchez,

    Affiliation: Department of Prehistory and Archaeology, University of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain

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  • Manuel Santonja,

    Affiliation: Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana, Burgos, Spain

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  • Doris Barboni,

    Affiliation: Centre Européen de Recherche et d'enseignement de Géosciences de l'Environnement, Aix-Marseille Université, Aix-en-Provence, France

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  • Agness Gidna,

    Affiliations: Instituto de Evolución en África, Museo de los Orígenes, Madrid, Spain, Paleontology Unit, National Museum of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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  • Gail Ashley,

    Affiliation: Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, United States of America

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  • José Yravedra,

    Affiliation: Department of Prehistory, Complutense University, Madrid, Spain

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  • Jason L. Heaton,

    Affiliations: Plio-Pleistocene Palaeontology Section, Department of Vertebrates, Ditsong National Museum of Natural History (Transvaal Museum), Pretoria, South Africa, Department of Biology, Birmingham-Southern College, Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America

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  • Maria Carmen Arriaza

    Affiliation: Department of Prehistory, Complutense University, Madrid, Spain

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  • Published: December 05, 2013
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080347

Reader Comments (1)

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A.boisei: closer relative of gorillas than of humans?

Posted by marc_verhaegen on 23 Jan 2014 at 00:29 GMT

The large forearms (also for knuckle-walking?), the large size & considerable sexual dimorphism, the herbivorous dentition etc seem to confirm (Kleindienst, Cherfas & Gribbin, Verhaegen, many others) that boisei might have been a closer relative of gorillas than of humans, eg, see my Hum.Evol.papers, esp."Australopithecines: ancestors of the African apes?" Hum.Evol.9:121-139,1994.
Most boisei fossils were found in wetlands, papyrus swamps, lagoons etc. This suggests their lifestyle might have resembled that of lowland gorillas spending most of their time in the swamp (google "gorilla bai"), feeding on waterside & floating plants such as papyrus (work of P-F.Puech) & possibly hard-shelled invertebrates (work of A.Shabel), eg, snails living on those plants.
BTW, "Paranthropus" is probably paraphyletic: gracile E.African australopiths became more robust in parallel with S.African graciles, possibly as an adaptation to the cooling & drying Pleistocene.
Marc Verhaegen

No competing interests declared.