Deciduous Molar Microwear of South African Australopithecines

  • F. E. Grine


Are the cranial, dental and mandibular differences between ‘gracile’ (Australopithecus africanus) and ‘robust’ (A. robustus, A. crassidens and A. boisei) autralopithecines merely allometric correlates of increased body size, or do they reflect adaptations to different dietary regimens? The question of diet is central to the construction of models of early hominid ecology and evolution, because dietary considerations bear directly upon trophic adaptations, musculo-skeletal developments associated with food acquisition, and perhaps also upon inter-specific relationships. The dietary proclivities of the australopithecines have been the subject of considerable debate, with arguments for and against various hypotheses stemming from multifarious approaches (see Grine, 1981 for a review of the literature). One of the more potentially useful approaches is the evaluation of the microscopic details of occlusal wear facets (Walker, 1979, 1980, 1981; Walker et al., 1978).


Occlusal Surface Occlusal Plane Early Hominid Primate Taxon Centric Occlusion 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. E. Grine
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyState University of New YorkStony BrookUSA

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