The 89th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2020)

Preliminary description of the fossil cercopithecids from Galili, Ethiopia


1Anthropology, University of Oregon, 2Geosciences, University of Arizona, 3Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa University, 4Anatomy, Case Western Reserve University, 5Laboratory of Physical Anthropology, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

April 17, 2020 , Platinum Ballroom Add to calendar

The Galili Research site has furnished over 650 fossil cercopithecids collected by previous and current research groups, including a few complete crania, but isolated teeth predominate. The majority come from the Dhidinley (4.4-3.9 Ma) and Shabeley Laag (ca. 3.9 Ma) members. The Galili cercopithecids are important because few African sites preserve cercopithecid taxa during this time. Galili cercopithecids were compared with those from broadly contemporary localities using qualitative features and standard dental metrics. To date, at least five cercopithecid taxa have been identified: an early member of the Theropithecus oswaldi lineage, two other papionins and two colobines. The T. oswaldi lineage material has simpler, more primitive molars than that from Woranso-Mille, Hadar, Omo, and Koobi Fora. They are also smaller than all of these populations, but not significantly than Woranso-Mille, perhaps due to the limited Galili sample. Together these facts suggest an older date for Galili. The most common papionin from Galili is close in size to papionini gen. sp. indet. from Woranso-Mille as well as Pliopapio alemui. The predominant Galili colobines are close in size to Cercopithecoides meaveae and Kuseracolobus aramisi. A larger papionin and colobine are also present, but very rare. Overall, the relatively diverse assemblage suggests a range of available vegetation and habitat types, but the predominance of non-Theropithecus papionins compared to colobines (15% ) at Galili suggests that it may have been a somewhat open habitat. That Theropithecus is present, but rare (5-10%) is similar to Kanapoi, but unlike Woranso-Mille where the genus greatly predominates.

This research supported by NSF-BCS 1640342 to SS and University of Oregon to SF.

Slides/Poster (pdf)