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A.boisei: closer relative of gorillas than of humans?

Posted by marc_verhaegen on 23 Jan 2014 at 00:29 GMT

The large forearms (also for knuckle-walking?), the large size & considerable sexual dimorphism, the herbivorous dentition etc seem to confirm (Kleindienst, Cherfas & Gribbin, Verhaegen, many others) that boisei might have been a closer relative of gorillas than of humans, eg, see my Hum.Evol.papers, esp."Australopithecines: ancestors of the African apes?" Hum.Evol.9:121-139,1994.
Most boisei fossils were found in wetlands, papyrus swamps, lagoons etc. This suggests their lifestyle might have resembled that of lowland gorillas spending most of their time in the swamp (google "gorilla bai"), feeding on waterside & floating plants such as papyrus (work of P-F.Puech) & possibly hard-shelled invertebrates (work of A.Shabel), eg, snails living on those plants.
BTW, "Paranthropus" is probably paraphyletic: gracile E.African australopiths became more robust in parallel with S.African graciles, possibly as an adaptation to the cooling & drying Pleistocene.
Marc Verhaegen

No competing interests declared.