Principal components analysis of distal humeral shape in Pliocene to recent African hominids: the contribution of geometric morphometrics

A M Bacon
American Journal of Physical Anthropology 2000, 111 (4): 479-87
The shape of the distal humerus in Homo, Pan (P. paniscus and P. troglodytes), Gorilla, and six australopithecines is compared using a geometric approach (Procrustes superimposition of landmarks). Fourteen landmarks are defined on the humerus in a two-dimensional space. Principal components analysis (PCA) is performed on all superimposed coordinates. I have chosen to discuss the precise place of KNM-KP 271 variously assigned to Australopithecus anamensis, Homo sp., or Praeanthropus africanus, in comparison with a sample of australopithecines. AL 288-1, AL 137-48 (Hadar), STW 431 (Sterkfontein), and TM 1517 (Kromdraai) are commonly attributed to Australopithecus afarensis (the two former), Australopithecus africanus, and Paranthropus robustus, respectively, while the taxonomic place of KNM-ER 739 (Homo or Paranthropus?) is not yet clearly defined. The analysis does not emphasize a particular affinity between KNM-KP 271 and modern Homo, nor with A. afarensis, as previously demonstrated (Lague and Jungers [1996]

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