How large were the australopithecines?



Stature of the African early hominids is estimated from most of the available fragments of fossil long bones by means of regression analysis. The average height of the South African gracile australopithecines is predicted to be 145.1 cm (4′9″) where n = 4 and of the South African robust forms, 152.7 cm (5′) where n = 3. The East African early hominids are somewhat taller (x = 163.0 cm or 5′4″, where n = 7). Variability in stature is high even within the same site which is probably a reflection of fairly strong sexual dimorphism in body size.

Evidence is presented which suggests that at least in one form of early hominid the size proportions of fore- and hindlimbs are different than in modern man. There is also evidence that average stature may have increased through time.

The most significant of these findings is that the two forms of early hominids in South Africa are possibly more similar in stature than is usually cited. This does not imply necessarily that the two forms did not differ significantly in robustness or weight.