Date of Award

4-24-2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Frank L'Engle Williams - Chair

Second Advisor

Susan McCombie

Third Advisor

Cassandra White

Abstract

The evolutionary history of the South African papionins is a useful analog for the emergence of hominids in South Africa. However, the taxonomic relationships of the papionins are unclear. This study uses low-magnification stereomicroscopy to examine dental microwear and uses the microwear signals to explore the existing classification of these papionins. The results from the species and site level analyses are equivocal. However, the genera and time period results show clear evidence for a dietary change between the extinct and extant forms of Papio and Parapapio. This adds an additional tool for distinguishing these two groups. The dietary changes witnessed in the papionins are likely found in the hominids from the Plio-Pleistocene. Using the papionin analog, hominid dietary evolution may be explored.

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