23. Australopithecus and Kenyanthropus

  1. David R. Begun
  1. Ashley S. Hammond and
  2. Carol V. Ward

Published Online: 14 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118332344.ch23

A Companion to Paleoanthropology

A Companion to Paleoanthropology

How to Cite

Hammond, A. S. and Ward, C. V. (2013) Australopithecus and Kenyanthropus, in A Companion to Paleoanthropology (ed D. R. Begun), Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118332344.ch23

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 JAN 2013
  2. Published Print: 25 FEB 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444331165

Online ISBN: 9781118332344



  • Australopithecus;
  • hominins;
  • Kenyanthropus


This chapter explores the species characterized as “non-robust australopiths”: Australopithecus anamensis, Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus africanus, and Australopithecus sediba, and also discusses Kenyanthropus platyops. Even though Australopithecus may not be a proper genus because all species do not share a unique common ancestor with each other, it certainly represents a successful adaptive radiation of hominins. The chapter reviews the common features of the australopith grade, and explores variation within this early hominin radiation. The genus Australopithecus was originally defined by Dart as “intermediate between living anthropoids and man”. Kenyanthropus platyops is a species known only from two specimens from the Lomekwi locality in west Turkana, Kenya. Many of K. platyops features (e.g., three-rooted p3, small acoustic porus, thin palate) are found within Australopithecus.