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Virtual cranial reconstruction of Sahelanthropus tchadensis.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Nature
1476-4687
Publisher
Nature Publishing Group
Publication Date
Volume
434
Issue
7034
Pages
755–759
Identifiers
PMID: 15815628
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Previous research in Chad at the Toros-Menalla 266 fossiliferous locality (about 7 million years old) uncovered a nearly complete cranium (TM 266-01-60-1), three mandibular fragments and several isolated teeth attributed to Sahelanthropus tchadensis. Of this material, the cranium is especially important for testing hypotheses about the systematics and behavioural characteristics of this species, but is partly distorted from fracturing, displacement and plastic deformation. Here we present a detailed virtual reconstruction of the TM 266 cranium that corrects these distortions. The reconstruction confirms that S. tchadensis is a hominid and is not more closely related to the African great apes. Analysis of the basicranium further indicates that S. tchadensis might have been an upright biped, suggesting that bipedalism was present in the earliest known hominids, and probably arose soon after the divergence of the chimpanzee and human lineages.

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