Cranium of a juvenile Australopithecus boisei from the lower Omo Basin, Ethiopia



A partial cranium of a juvenile Australopithecus boisei, recovered from the Shungura Formation in the lower Omo basin, southern Ethiopia, and dated at 2.1 m.y. B.P., is described anatomically and compared to young and adult australopithecines, modern Homo sapiens, chimpanzees, and gorillas. A resemblance to the gracile Australopithecus is observed but is attributed mainly to the generalized appearance of the Omo specimen resulting from its young individual age. An attempt is made to reconstruct part of the ontogenetic process of A. boisei. This process is compared to the developmental changes exhibited by the African great apes and modern man and is found to combine characteristics of both.