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Paranthropus Forms

What were formerly called "robust Australopithecines" are now generally classed into their own genus: Paranthropus. The following three are the most often mentioned.

robustus boisei aethiopicus

Paranthropus robustus

Former Name (Still in Use):
Australopithecus robustus.
Location:
South Africa.
Most Famous Sites:
Kromdraai, Swartkrans (both in South Africa).
Time Range:
1.75-1.5 mya.
Size:
Larger than Au. africanus, with weight ranging from 42 to 89 kg. Dimorphic.
Cranial Capacity:
> 500 cc.
Cranial Features:
robust face, cranium with sagittal crest, robust lower jaw, small front teeth, large thick-enamelled molars and premolars. More robust than the gracile Australopithecines, but much less cranially robust than P. boisei.
Postcranial Features:
Similar to smaller Australopithecines as far as is known.
Habitats:
Open savannah.
Wikipedia link


Paranthropus boisei

Former Name (Still in Use):
Australopithecus boisei.
Obsolete name:
Zinjanthropus.
Most Famous Specimens:
“Zinj” (KNM-OH 5) (Kenya), Konso Specimen (Ethiopia).
Location:
East Africa.
Most Famous Sites:
Peninj (Tanzania), Olduvai (Kenya), Omo (Ethiopia), East Turkana (Kenya), Chesowanja (= Baringo) (Kenya).
Time Range:
2.5 to 1.3 mya.
Size:
37 to 89 kg, markedly dimorphic.
Cranial Capacity:
>500 cc.
Cranial Features:
Most cranially robust species: massive cranium with sagittal crest, flat heavily buttressed face, heavily buttressed lower jaw, small front teeth, enormous molars and premolars with very thick enamel. (The teeth, facial and jaw buttressing, and sagittal crest may indicate that this species was a “chewing machine,” since those adaptations could have functioned to absorb the forces generated by constant chewing.)
Postcranial Features:
Similar to other Australopithecines, as far as is known.
Habitats:
Open savannah.
Wikipedia link

photo

Paranthropus/Australopithecus boisei (KNM-ER 406)
(Dept of Anthropology, UCSD)

photo

Paranthropus/Australopithecus boisei (KNM-OH 5)
(Los Angeles Museum of Natural History)




Paranthropus aethiopicus

Most Famous Specimens:
"The Black Skull" (KNM-WT 17000) (Kenya)
Location:
Ethiopia
Time Range:
2.5-2 mya
Cranial Capacity:
410 cc
Cranial Features:
Largest sagittal crest of any known hominid.
Special Note:
The nickname “Black Skull” was given because the specimen is darkened by manganese stains. This form seems intermediate between Au. afarensis and later Paranthropus robustus. Some anatomists class it with Au. boisei (P. boisei).
Wikipedia link

photo

Paranthropus aethiopicus (1st View)
(Dept of Anthropology, UCSD)


photo

Paranthropus aethiopicus (2nd View)
(Dept of Anthropology, UCSD)



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