Posted on 4 December 2015
A new article in Nature Scientific Reports has shown that growth in the midface of one of our fossil ancestors, Australopithecus sediba, was unique amongst early fossil hominds. Using a remarkably well-preserved specimen of a juvenile specimen of Australopithecus sediba (MH1), the researchers, including members of the University of York were able to ascertain that the facial remodelling fields were distributed in a distinct manner from those of other species of Australopithecus, Paranthropus and early species of Homo. However, the ontogeny of the MH1 midface superficially resembled some modern humans in the distribution of remodeling fields. The researchers concluded that the facial growth of MH1 appeared unique among early hominins representing an evolutionary modification in facial ontogeny at 1.9 my, or to changes in masticatory system loading associated with diet.