Facial anatomy of Victoriapithecus and its relevance to the ancestral cranial morphology of old world monkeys and apes

Authors

  • Brenda R. Benefit,

    1. Department of Anthropology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois 62901
    2. Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720
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  • Monte L. McCrossin

    1. Department of Anthropology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois 62901
    2. Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720
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Abstract

Recently discovered Craniofacial fossils of the middle Miocene cercopithecoid Victoriapithecus are described. The frontal, zygomatic, maxilla, and premaxilla anatomy differ from the previously proposed colobine-like ancestral cercopithecoid morphotype in several significant respects. This morphotype was based on the assumption that features held in common by subordinate hominoid and cercopithecoid morphotypes (Colobinae and Hylobatidae) are primitive for Old World monkeys. Cranial similarities between Victoriapithecus, which represents the sister-group of both colobine and cercopithecone monkeys, and the shorter-snouted Cercopithecinae (Macaca and Cercopithecus) indicate that the last common ancestor of Old World monkeys possessed the following features: a narrow interorbital septum, moderately long snout, moderately long and anteriorly tapering premaxilla, large procumbent upper central incisors set anterior to and with longer roots than lateral incisors, moderately tall face below the orbits, teardrop-shaped nasal aperture of low height and moderate width, and probably long and narrow nasal bones. The Victoriapithecus cranium is also characterized by features not present in modern cercopithecids. These include a deep malar region of the zygomatic and the presence of a frontal trigon due to the occurrence of temporal lines that merge with supraorbital costae close to the midline of each orbit and converge anterior to bregma. These features are interpreted as primitive retentions from the basal catarrhine condition as indicated by the occurrence of these features among primitive catarrhines (Aegyptopithecus) and Miocene hominoids (Afropithecus). © 1993 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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