The 85th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2016)


Primitive pelvic features in a new species of Homo

CAROLINE VANSICKLE1,2,3, ZACHARY D. COFRAN3,4, DANIEL GARCIA-MARTINEZ3,5, SCOTT A. WILLIAMS3,6, STEVEN E. CHURCHILL3,7, LEE R. BERGER3 and JOHN HAWKS2,3.

1Department of Gender and Women's Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 3Evolutionary Studies Institute and Centre for Excellence in Palaeosciences, University of the Witwatersrand, 4School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nazarbayev University, 5Paleoanthropology Group, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, 6Center for the Study of Human Origins, Department of Anthropology, New York University, 7Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University

April 16, 2016 9:30, Imperial Ballroom A Add to calendar

In the hominin fossil record, pelvic remains are sparse and are difficult to attribute taxonomically when they are not directly associated with crania. Here we introduce the pelvic remains from the Dinaledi Chamber in the Rising Star cave system, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa which belong to the newly discovered species, Homo naledi. Though this species has been attributed to Homo based on crania and lower limb morphology, the pelvic remains are australopith-like in many ways, including a marked iliac flare and an anteriorly oriented iliac pillar. Derived, Homo-like traits in this species include robust iliopubic and ischiopubic rami and a shortened ischium. While the sample described here represents multiple individuals in different age categories, they are not complete enough to make definitive claims about locomotion or the birth process in this new species. Nevertheless, a primitive ilium combined with a derived ischium and pubis is functionally consistent with this species’ ribcage and femoral anatomy. We conclude that the overall similarity of H. naledi pelvis to those of australopiths means there was more variation in pelvic form within Homo than previously believed.

Funded by the National Geographic Society and the National Research Foundation.