The 87th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2018)


Session 3. The Forgotten Lineage(s): Paleobiology of Paranthropus. Invited Podium Symposium. Chair: Paul J. Constantino, Bernard A. Wood Co-organizers: Paul J Constantino, Saint Michael's College; Bernard A Wood, The George Washington University

April 12, 2018 , Zilker 4 Add to calendar

When Robert Broom introduced the taxon Paranthropus robustus eighty years ago, he chose the genus name to reflect his belief that there was fossil evidence of a group of hominins that existed “alongside” the genus Homo. We now know that, for at least the first half of its existence, the genus Homo shared part of its range, if not its habitat, with one or more lineages of megadont hominins. Interest in this lineage, or lineages, should be greater than it is if only because the more we understand about the hominins that lived alongside our ancestors, the more we will be able to appreciate what is distinctive about our own evolutionary history. It is more than three decades since the last comprehensive review of Paranthropus, so this symposium was planned to bring together an international roster of scientists who have spent their careers researching the fossil evidence for, and the context of, the taxa that are conventionally subsumed within the genus Paranthropus. They will present and synthesize the latest research about the paleobiologyof Paranthropus. Among the questions they will collectively explore are the following: What is the extent of any similarities and differences in the habitat and dietary preferences of the species subsumed into Paranthropus? What is the functional and adaptive significance of postcanine megadontia? What are new discoveries of Paranthropus postcrania revealing about posture, locomotion, and possible tool use in these hominins? Are postcanine megadont hominins monophyletic, or was postcanine megadontia an adaptive response that evolved more than once within the hominin clade? If the latter, what are the evolutionary relationships between the fossil evidence from southern and eastern Africa? Finally, what does our understanding of Paranthropus tell us about the evolutionary history of our own genus?

7:55 Introduction: Frederick Grine
8:00 Add to calendar Geology and uranium-lead (U-Pb) dating of the South African Paranthropus-bearing cave deposits. Robyn Pickering.
8:15 Add to calendar Paranthropus paleoenvironments in South Africa. Matt Sponheimer, Jennifer N. Leichliter, Oliver C.C. Paine, Darryl J. de Ruiter, Julia A. Lee-Thorp.
8:30 Add to calendar A Geological Context for Paranthropus in eastern Africa. Craig S. Feibel.
8:45 Add to calendar Robust australopith paleobiology: The biogeography and paleoenvironments of eastern and southern African Paranthropus. Amy L. Rector, Kelsey D. O'Neill.
9:00 Add to calendar The role of DNH 7, a female A. robustus skull, in illuminating the evolutionary history of the robust australopiths. Yoel Rak, William H. Kimbel, Colin Menter, Charles A. Lockwood.
9:15 Add to calendar A mechanobiological perspective on the facial skeleton of Paranthropus. David J. Daegling.
9:30 Add to calendar The role of selection in shaping the cranio-mandibular morphology of Paranthropus. Nomawethu Hlazo, Terrence R. Ritzman, Lauren Schroeder, Rebecca R. Ackermann.
9:45 Add to calendar Teeth on trial: What can dental morphology really tell us about hominin phylogeny?. Shara E. Bailey, Lucas K. Delezene, Jacopo Moggi-Cecchi, Matthew M. Skinner.
10:00 BREAK
10:30 Add to calendar Below the crown: examining interspecies variation in postcanine enamel thickness, EDJ, and root form in the Paranthropus clade. Matthew M. Skinner, Shara E. Bailey, Philipp Gunz, William H. Kimbel, Zeresenay Alemseged, Lucas K. Delezene, Colin Menter, Jacopo Moggi-Cecchi, Kornelius Kupczik.
10:45 Add to calendar Dental indicators of Paranthropus tooth function. Paul J. Constantino, Peter Ungar.
11:00 Add to calendar Isotopic dietary variability distinguishes East African Paranthropus boisei from South African P. robustus. Julia A. Lee-Thorp, Scott Blumenthal.
11:15 Add to calendar Paranthropus: A Pleistocene postcranial puzzle. Michael R. Lague, Carol V. Ward.
11:30 Add to calendar Postcranial functional anatomy of Australopithecus (Paranthropus) boisei and A. (P.) robustus . Carol V. Ward, Michael R. Lague.
11:45 Add to calendar The systematics of robust australopiths. David S. Strait, Carrie S. Mongle, Frederick E. Grine.
12:00 Synthesis and Discussion: Bernard A. Wood