The vertebrae and ribs of Homo naledi

Scott Williams, Daniel García-Martínez, Markus Bastir, Marc R. Meyer, Shahed Nalla, John Hawks, Peter Schmid, Steven E. Churchill, Lee R. Berger

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Hominin evolution featured shifts from a trunk shape suitable for climbing and housing a large gut to a trunk adapted to bipedalism and higher quality diets. Our knowledge regarding the tempo, mode, and context in which these derived traits evolved has been limited, based largely on a small-bodied Australopithecus partial skeleton (A.L. 288-1; "Lucy") and a juvenile Homo erectus skeleton (KNM-WT 15000; "Turkana Boy"). Two recent discoveries, of a large-bodied Australopithecus afarensis (KSD-VP-1/1) and two Australopithecus sediba partial skeletons (MH1 and MH2), have added to our understanding of thorax evolution; however, little is known about thorax morphology in early Homo. Here we describe hominin vertebrae, ribs, and sternal remains from the Dinaledi chamber of the Rising Star cave system attributed to Homo naledi. Although the remains are highly fragmented, the best-preserved specimens-two lower thoracic vertebrae and a lower rib-were found in association and belong to a small-bodied individual. A second lower rib may belong to this individual as well. All four of these individual elements are amongst the smallest known in the hominin fossil record. H. naledi is characterized by robust, relatively uncurved lower ribs and a relatively large spinal canal. We expect that the recovery of additional material from Rising Star Cave will clarify the nature of these traits and shed light on H. naledi functional morphology and phylogeny.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalJournal of Human Evolution
    DOIs
    StateAccepted/In press - Sep 28 2015

    Fingerprint

    Homo
    vertebrae
    ribs
    skeleton
    phylogeny
    thorax
    bipedalism
    chamber
    caves
    cave system
    functional morphology
    housing
    fossil record
    cave
    canal
    nutritional adequacy
    chest
    diet
    fossils
    digestive system

    Keywords

    • Australopithecus
    • Bipedalism
    • Ribcage
    • Thorax
    • Trunk
    • Vertebral column

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Education
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

    Cite this

    Williams, S., García-Martínez, D., Bastir, M., Meyer, M. R., Nalla, S., Hawks, J., ... Berger, L. R. (Accepted/In press). The vertebrae and ribs of Homo naledi. Journal of Human Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2016.11.003

    The vertebrae and ribs of Homo naledi. / Williams, Scott; García-Martínez, Daniel; Bastir, Markus; Meyer, Marc R.; Nalla, Shahed; Hawks, John; Schmid, Peter; Churchill, Steven E.; Berger, Lee R.

    In: Journal of Human Evolution, 28.09.2015.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Williams, S, García-Martínez, D, Bastir, M, Meyer, MR, Nalla, S, Hawks, J, Schmid, P, Churchill, SE & Berger, LR 2015, 'The vertebrae and ribs of Homo naledi', Journal of Human Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2016.11.003
    Williams S, García-Martínez D, Bastir M, Meyer MR, Nalla S, Hawks J et al. The vertebrae and ribs of Homo naledi. Journal of Human Evolution. 2015 Sep 28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2016.11.003
    Williams, Scott ; García-Martínez, Daniel ; Bastir, Markus ; Meyer, Marc R. ; Nalla, Shahed ; Hawks, John ; Schmid, Peter ; Churchill, Steven E. ; Berger, Lee R. / The vertebrae and ribs of Homo naledi. In: Journal of Human Evolution. 2015.
    @article{4593ae4828524aa0a0acf9ef62603634,
    title = "The vertebrae and ribs of Homo naledi",
    abstract = "Hominin evolution featured shifts from a trunk shape suitable for climbing and housing a large gut to a trunk adapted to bipedalism and higher quality diets. Our knowledge regarding the tempo, mode, and context in which these derived traits evolved has been limited, based largely on a small-bodied Australopithecus partial skeleton (A.L. 288-1; {"}Lucy{"}) and a juvenile Homo erectus skeleton (KNM-WT 15000; {"}Turkana Boy{"}). Two recent discoveries, of a large-bodied Australopithecus afarensis (KSD-VP-1/1) and two Australopithecus sediba partial skeletons (MH1 and MH2), have added to our understanding of thorax evolution; however, little is known about thorax morphology in early Homo. Here we describe hominin vertebrae, ribs, and sternal remains from the Dinaledi chamber of the Rising Star cave system attributed to Homo naledi. Although the remains are highly fragmented, the best-preserved specimens-two lower thoracic vertebrae and a lower rib-were found in association and belong to a small-bodied individual. A second lower rib may belong to this individual as well. All four of these individual elements are amongst the smallest known in the hominin fossil record. H. naledi is characterized by robust, relatively uncurved lower ribs and a relatively large spinal canal. We expect that the recovery of additional material from Rising Star Cave will clarify the nature of these traits and shed light on H. naledi functional morphology and phylogeny.",
    keywords = "Australopithecus, Bipedalism, Ribcage, Thorax, Trunk, Vertebral column",
    author = "Scott Williams and Daniel Garc{\'i}a-Mart{\'i}nez and Markus Bastir and Meyer, {Marc R.} and Shahed Nalla and John Hawks and Peter Schmid and Churchill, {Steven E.} and Berger, {Lee R.}",
    year = "2015",
    month = "9",
    day = "28",
    doi = "10.1016/j.jhevol.2016.11.003",
    language = "English (US)",
    journal = "Journal of Human Evolution",
    issn = "0047-2484",
    publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",

    }

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - The vertebrae and ribs of Homo naledi

    AU - Williams, Scott

    AU - García-Martínez, Daniel

    AU - Bastir, Markus

    AU - Meyer, Marc R.

    AU - Nalla, Shahed

    AU - Hawks, John

    AU - Schmid, Peter

    AU - Churchill, Steven E.

    AU - Berger, Lee R.

    PY - 2015/9/28

    Y1 - 2015/9/28

    N2 - Hominin evolution featured shifts from a trunk shape suitable for climbing and housing a large gut to a trunk adapted to bipedalism and higher quality diets. Our knowledge regarding the tempo, mode, and context in which these derived traits evolved has been limited, based largely on a small-bodied Australopithecus partial skeleton (A.L. 288-1; "Lucy") and a juvenile Homo erectus skeleton (KNM-WT 15000; "Turkana Boy"). Two recent discoveries, of a large-bodied Australopithecus afarensis (KSD-VP-1/1) and two Australopithecus sediba partial skeletons (MH1 and MH2), have added to our understanding of thorax evolution; however, little is known about thorax morphology in early Homo. Here we describe hominin vertebrae, ribs, and sternal remains from the Dinaledi chamber of the Rising Star cave system attributed to Homo naledi. Although the remains are highly fragmented, the best-preserved specimens-two lower thoracic vertebrae and a lower rib-were found in association and belong to a small-bodied individual. A second lower rib may belong to this individual as well. All four of these individual elements are amongst the smallest known in the hominin fossil record. H. naledi is characterized by robust, relatively uncurved lower ribs and a relatively large spinal canal. We expect that the recovery of additional material from Rising Star Cave will clarify the nature of these traits and shed light on H. naledi functional morphology and phylogeny.

    AB - Hominin evolution featured shifts from a trunk shape suitable for climbing and housing a large gut to a trunk adapted to bipedalism and higher quality diets. Our knowledge regarding the tempo, mode, and context in which these derived traits evolved has been limited, based largely on a small-bodied Australopithecus partial skeleton (A.L. 288-1; "Lucy") and a juvenile Homo erectus skeleton (KNM-WT 15000; "Turkana Boy"). Two recent discoveries, of a large-bodied Australopithecus afarensis (KSD-VP-1/1) and two Australopithecus sediba partial skeletons (MH1 and MH2), have added to our understanding of thorax evolution; however, little is known about thorax morphology in early Homo. Here we describe hominin vertebrae, ribs, and sternal remains from the Dinaledi chamber of the Rising Star cave system attributed to Homo naledi. Although the remains are highly fragmented, the best-preserved specimens-two lower thoracic vertebrae and a lower rib-were found in association and belong to a small-bodied individual. A second lower rib may belong to this individual as well. All four of these individual elements are amongst the smallest known in the hominin fossil record. H. naledi is characterized by robust, relatively uncurved lower ribs and a relatively large spinal canal. We expect that the recovery of additional material from Rising Star Cave will clarify the nature of these traits and shed light on H. naledi functional morphology and phylogeny.

    KW - Australopithecus

    KW - Bipedalism

    KW - Ribcage

    KW - Thorax

    KW - Trunk

    KW - Vertebral column

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85009446596&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85009446596&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1016/j.jhevol.2016.11.003

    DO - 10.1016/j.jhevol.2016.11.003

    M3 - Article

    JO - Journal of Human Evolution

    JF - Journal of Human Evolution

    SN - 0047-2484

    ER -