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Fossil papio cranium from !Ncumtsa (Koanaka) Hills, western Ngamiland, Botswana

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Abstract

Three fossils, a cranium of Papio, a cercopithecid frontal bone, and a mandible of juvenile Papio, have been recovered from cave deposits in the !Ncumtsa (Koanaka) Hills of western Ngamiland, Botswana. These specimens are significant because well-preserved crania of Papio are extremely rare in the fossil record outside of South Africa and because this is the first report of fossil primate cranial remains from Botswana. Thermoluminescence dating of surrounding cave matrix indicates an age of ≥317 ± 114 ka, within the Middle Pleistocene, although it may be older. Based on univariate and multivariate analyses, the adult !Ncumtsa specimen falls within the range of variation seen in extant forms of Papio, yet is distinct from any living species/subspecies and represents a new taxon, named here as a new subspecies of Papio hamadryas—Papio hamadryas botswanae. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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