New fossil cercopithecid remains from the Humpata Plateau, southern Angola

Nina G. Jablonski

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The aim of the present investigation was to describe and identify the well‐preserved cranial remains of a fossil cercopithecid recently recovered from sites on the Humpata Plateau in southern Angola. In the past, papionin fossils recovered from the Angolan site of Tchiua (Leba) have been referred to various taxa, including Dinopithecus ingens, Parapapio sp., and Papio (Dinopithecus) quadratirostris. Comparison of the new Angolan papionin cranial remains with those previously described from the Humpata Plateau and a large range of living and fossil Papionini revealed that the range of metrical and morphological variation present in the Humpata papionin sample was consistent with that found in a single extant papionin species. The Humpata cranial remains bear the largest number of similarities to Theropithecus baringensis R. Leakey, 1969, and it is to this species that the remains are hereby referred. This assignment is based on a suite of 11 shared attributes of the Humpata papionin fossils and the type specimen of T. baringensis, KNM BC2, which include: large molar teeth of relatively low relief with pinched cusps and with a prominent distal fovea on M3; a small, low cranial vault with little mid‐parietal expansion; a bow‐shaped supraorbital torus; trapezoidal, inferiorly tapering orbits; a functional complex related to the presence of a large and vertically oriented anterior temporalis muscle; a large infratemporal fossa with an anteromedially oriented posterior border; a long muzzle with a steep interorbital drop, shallow incisive arc, flattened dorsum, and rounded maxillary ridges; nasal bones that extend across the breadth of the posterior margin of the nasal aperture and then taper markedly as they approach nasion; prominent, inferiorly divergent mental ridges; and relatively shallow mandibular fossae that are long, elliptical in shape, and extend to the level of the M3. The results of the current study suggest that T. baringensis (now including the Humpata papionin sample) and T. quadratirostris occupy a position at the base of the Theropithecus radiation very close to the origin of Dinopithecus ingens and Gorgopithecus major. The species of the genera Theropithecus (including its Humpata representatives) and Papio, along with D. ingens and G. major, form a cluster of taxa that are more closely related to each other than they are to other extant or extinct papionins. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-464
Number of pages30
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


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