Paranthropus aethiopicus

Paranthropus aethiopicus
Paranthropus aethiopicus
Temporal range: Pliocene
Paranthropus aethiopicus skull ("Black Skull") replica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Hominidae
Genus: Paranthropus
Species: P. aethiopicus
Binomial name
Paranthropus aethiopicus
(Olson, 1985)

Paranthropus aethiopicus is an extinct species of hominid. The finding discovered in 1985 by Alan Walker in West Turkana, Kenya, KNM WT 17000 (known as the "Black Skull" due to the dark coloration of the bone, caused by high levels of manganese), is one of the earliest examples of robust pliocene hominids. The skull is dated to 2.5 million years ago, older than the later forms of robust australopithecines. Anthropologists suggest that P. aethiopicus lived between 2.7 and 2.5 million years ago. The features are quite primitive and share many traits with Australopithecus afarensis; thus P. aethiopicus is likely to be a direct descendant. With its face being as prognathic (projecting) as A. afarensis, its brain size was also quite small at 410 cc.

P. aethiopicus was first found in Ethiopia in 1968 as the first assigned specimen. Lower jaw and teeth fragments have been uncovered. P. aethiopicus had a large sagittal crest and zygomatic arch adapted for heavy chewing (as in gorilla skulls). Not much is known about this species since the best evidence comes from the "Black Skull" and the jaw. There is not enough material to make an assessment to how tall they were, but they may have been as tall as Australopithecus afarensis.

Not all anthropologists agree that P. aethiopicus gave rise to both Paranthropus boisei and Paranthropus robustus, since the skull more closely resembles that of A. afarensis. The one clue that makes P. aethiopicus a possible ancestor to both P. boisei and P. robustus is the similarity in jaw size. P. aethiopicus is known to have lived in mixed savanna and woodland. More evidence must be gathered about P. aethiopicus in order to accurately describe its physiology. The bizarre primitive shape of the "Black Skull" gives evidence that P. aethiopicus and the other australopithecines are on an evolutionary branch of the hominid tree, distinctly diverging from the Homo (human) lineage.

See also


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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Paranthropus aethiopicus — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda ? Paranthropus aethiopicus Rango fósil: Plioceno Superior …   Wikipedia Español

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  • Paranthropus aethiopicus — En 1967 se encontró cerca del lago de Turkana, en la zona etíope, una mandíbula de unos 2.5 millones de años. El descubrimiento no tuvo continuidad hasta que se descubrió un cráneo (el cráneo negro ) perteneciente a la misma especide de la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Paranthropus — Das Fossil KNM WT 17000 von Paranthropus aethiopicus (Nachbildung) Zeitraum Oberes Pliozän bis Pleistozän …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Paranthropus — Paranthropus …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Paranthropus — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda ? Paranthropus Reconstrucción de un Paranthropus boisei (Museo de Arqueología de Westfalia) …   Wikipedia Español

  • Paranthropus boisei — Temporal range: Pliocene Pleistocene Scientific classification Kingdom: A …   Wikipedia

  • Paranthropus boisei — Nachbildung des Schädels OH 5 und eines Unterkiefers Zeitraum Oberes Pliozän bis Pleistozän 2,3 bis 1,4 Mio. Jahre Fundorte …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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