The articular surface of the temporal bone in certain fossil hominoids
Article first published online: 20 AUG 2009
Journal of Zoology
Volume 179, Issue 4, pages 561–578, August 1976
How to Cite
Ashton, E. H., Flinn, R. M. and Moore, W. J. (1976), The articular surface of the temporal bone in certain fossil hominoids. Journal of Zoology, 179: 561–578. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.1976.tb02311.x
- Issue published online: 20 AUG 2009
- Article first published online: 20 AUG 2009
- Accepted 13 April 1976
Although quantitative variations exist between living Man (Homo sapiens sapiens) and the extant great apes (Pongo, Pan, Gorilla) in such features of the articular surface of the temporal bone (a part of the temporomandibular joint) as the proportionate development of the postglenoid tubercle, the relative prominence of the articular tubercle and the slope of its posterior face, these do not individually effect a clear differentiation between the four extant genera. But in multivariate combination of these features, although Pan and Pongo are relatively closely associated, Gorilla and Homo sapiens sapiens are distinct, and also clearly differentiated from each other. The differences between genera of extant apes are, on average, as great as those between extant Man and individual apes.
As portrayed by such multivariate compound, this anatomical region in four fossil groups displays a unique configuration differentiating Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, Homo erectus pekinensis, Australopithecus africanus and Australopithecus robustus both from one another and from extant types. The differences are such that the fossil species lie uniquely and not intermediate between extant groups.
Definable age changes in this multivariate compound occur in both Man and apes but neither these, nor overall differences between adults, appear to be associated with marked contrasts in the pattern of jaw movement. It would thus seem improbable that inferences can be made from these features about the type of jaw movement that characterized the several fossil groups.