Paranthropus boisei one is hominidé fossil which lived in Eastern Africa between approximately 2,4 and 1,2 million years before our era, during the Pliocène and the lower Pléistocène. It was initially called Zinjanthropus boisei then Australopithecus boisei . Today, it is often included in the kind Paranthropus , of which he is the largest representative. However, the debate concerning its phylogenetic position is not yet closed.
Discovered by the anthropologist Mary Leakey in July 1959 in the Throats of Olduvai (Tanzania), cranium OH 5, called “nut-cracker” is well preserved and goes back to 1,75 million years; it presents features different from those of the Australopithèque S graciles. Mary and her husband Louis Leakey called the specimen Zinjanthropus boisei ; boisei in homage to Charles Boise, the patron of this team of anthropologists; “zinj” is an old word to indicate Eastern Africa and “anthropos” means man in Greek. Paranthropus boisei acquired a great importance when Richard Leakey, the son of the two anthropologists, estimated that it was the first species of Hominides to have used stone tools. Another cranium was put at the day in 1969 per Richard with Koobi Fora, close to the Lac Turkana with the Kenya.
Morphology and interpretations
Cerebral volume strikes by its smallness: approximately 500 to 550 cm ³, hardly larger than that of Australopithecus afarensis and Australopithecus africanus . It very has a face punt and a cranium clearly specialized for a powerful chewing. Several of its features meet in the modern gorillas, in particular the presence of a sagittal peak at the top of cranium in the males. The males weighed 55 kg and their size upright was of 1,50 m, while the females weighed 30 kg and only 1,20 m in height measured. It is about the one of most important the sexual dimorphisms known in the Hominides.
Teeth (and especially molars and premolars) were built to chew a food coriace like unearthed tubers, nuts and probably of the sheets in the meadows. The molars are approximately 4 times larger than those of modern men.
Paranthropus boisei lived the dry meadows of savanna and the wooded territories.
No stone tool was found in direct partnership with Paranthropus boisei as opposed to what had believed Richard Leakey initially. The appearance of the lithic Industry date of approximately 2,6 it and year million is generally regarded as the fact of the first Homo habilis , but nothing makes it possible to exclude that Paranthropes have, them also, cut tools.
In the beginning Richard Leakey had believed that the species was a direct ancestor of Homo sapiens but a more recent analysis placed it on a separate evolutionary branch, without relationship with the kind Homo and probably extinct without descent.
In 1993, A. Amzaye found fossils of Paranthropus boisei in Kronso (Ethiopia). The piece of cranium is called KGA10-525 and its age is estimated at 1,4 million years. It is the largest cranium specimen of Paranthropus boisei never discovered. It is the only remainder of the species found in Ethiopia; all the others were it in other parts of Eastern Africa. The oldest specimen of Paranthropus boisei (L. 74a-21) was found in Omo (Ethiopia) and it goes back to 2,3 million years while the most recent specimens of the Throat of Olduvai have 1,2 million years.
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