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Paranthropus boisei skull

Paranthropus boisei skull

C029/7356

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Credit

SINCLAIR STAMMERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SINCLAIR STAMMERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

This is the largest of the australopithecines. Carbon isotope ratios of P.boisei teeth suggest a diet dominated by tropical grasses and sedges. This specimen was found at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, by Mary Leakey on July 17, 1959 and is 1.8 million years old. The original skull is in the National Museum of Tanzania. The brain volume is quite small, about 500 to 550cm cubed, not much larger than Australopithecus afarensis and Australopithecus africanus or modern-day chimpanzees. It had a skull highly specialized for heavy chewing and several traits seen in modern-day gorillas. The molar teeth were very large, with an area over twice that of modern humans.The species is sometimes referred to as Nutcracker Man because it had the biggest, flattest cheek teeth and the thickest enamel of any known hominid.

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