- Additional information
Australopithecus Jaw Replica or Australopithecus boisei. The robust jaw with its massive molars is a testament of the extreme grinding ability possessed by Australopithecus boisei.
The wear patterns suggest they ate fruits and seeds as well as other fibrous plant material. This reconstruction is of the jaw designated KNM-ER 729, found by Paul Abell in Kenya, 1970.
Paranthropus boisei is a species of australopithecine from the Early Pleistocene of East Africa about 2.3 to 1.34 or 1 million years ago. The holotype specimen, OH 5, was discovered by palaeoanthropologist Mary Leakey in 1959, and described by her husband Louis a month later.
It was originally placed into its own genus as “Zinjanthropus boisei”, but is now relegated to Paranthropus along with other robust australopithecines. However, it is argued that Paranthropus is an invalid grouping and synonymous with Australopithecus, so the species is also often classified as Australopithecus boisei.
Robust australopithecines are characterised by heavily built skulls capable of producing high stresses and bite forces, and some of the largest molars with the thickest enamel of any known ape. P. boisei is the most robust of this group. Brain size was about 450–550 cc (27–34 cu in), similar to other australopithecines.
Some skulls are markedly smaller than others, which is taken as evidence of sexual dimorphism where females are much smaller than males, though body size is difficult to estimate given only one specimen, OH 80, definitely provides any bodily elements.
The presumed male OH 80 may have been 156 cm (5 ft 1 in) tall and 50 kg (110 lb) in weight (assuming improbable humanlike proportions), and the presumed female KNM-ER 1500 124 cm (4 ft 1 in) tall (though its species designation is unclear).
The arm and hand bones of OH 80 and KNM-ER 47000 suggest P. boisei was arboreal to a degree and was possibly capable of manufacturing tools.
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