Phyletic diversity and locomotion in primitive European hominids


  • David R. Begun

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    1. Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A1, Canada
    • Dept. of Anthropology, University of Toronto, 100 St. George St., Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A1, Canada
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A major contribution of previous analyses of Miocene hominoid postcrania is the recognition of a great ape grade of locomotor morphology in the late Miocene. However, in the absence of a consideration of the taxonomic and phylogenetic implications of the specimens concerned, the importance of this conclusion remains unappreciated. This paper presents a revised view of the positional implications of late Miocene hominid fossils and considers some of the taxonomic and phyletic implications of these specimens. The taxonomic status of a number of large catarrhine specimens from Europe (attributed to Dryopithecus, Sivapithecus, Austriacopithecus, Paidopithex, Rudapithecus) is discussed. The functional and phyletic significance of this material reveals a complex pattern of behavioral and phyletic diversity among large-bodied catarrhines in Europe and suggests that this diversity evolved in situ from circum-Mediterranean middle Miocene ancestors.