Estimation of basic life history data of fossil hominoids
Relationships between the life cycle and body mass, brain mass, and relative brain size of extant primates can be used to estimate life history parameters of extinct species. Methods to predict these key variables from available cranial and postcranial materials of fossil hominoids, especially hominids, are compiled and evaluated. The use of different concepts of scaling relative brain size is discussed. Brain mass and constant of cephalization data were used as the source material for the estimation of the age at eruption of the first lower molar, the age at female sexual maturity, the age at first breeding, and the maximum life span. Such data support the interpretation of the Late Miocene Sahelanthropus tchadensis as a taxon possibly related to the hominid stem species near the splitting of chimpanzee and hominid lines; confirm the fundamental nature of the australopithecines as progressive apes, not as humans; and support the view of a close relationship of the Early Pleistocene Homo paleopopulation of Dmanisi (Georgia) to the earliest Pleistocene African Homo populations.
Hemmer, H. (2015)., Estimation of basic life history data of fossil hominoids, in W. Henke & I. Tattersall (eds.), Handbook of Paleoanthropology, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 703-743.
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