COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Radius of Paranthropus robustus from member 1, Swartkrans formation, South Africa

F E Grine, R L Susman
American Journal of Physical Anthropology 1991, 84 (3): 229-48
2024712
Recently recovered hominid postcrania from Member 1, Swartkrans Formation include the proximal and distal ends of a right radius attributed to a single individual of Paranthropus robustus. These fossils are essentially similar to Australopithecus afarensis, A. africanus, and P. boisei homologues. The head manifests an ape-like circumferentia articularis, and the distal end has prominent medial, dorsal, and lateral tubercles and a well developed brachioradialis crest, features also commonly exhibited by extant great apes. The volar set of the P. robustus radiocarpal joint, like that of Australopithecus homologues, more closely resembles the neutral condition exhibited by Homo than the greater flexion evinced by living apes. Compared with fossil and recent specimens of Homo, the configuration of the P. robustus radial head suggests enhanced stability against medial displacement during pronation and supination; the strong crest for the attachment of brachioradialis may attest to enhanced forearm flexor capability. In addition, this crest and the prominent dorsal tubercles may indicate enhanced hand extensor and, therefore, hand flexor capabilities. The differences in radial morphology between Paranthropus and Homo may relate to significant behavioral differences between these two synchronic taxa.

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