The enigma of the Sangiran 4 palate revisited

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Abstract

The Sangiran 4 palate has been controversial since its discovery in the 1930s because it retains a number of more primitive morphologies such as projecting canines and precanine diastemata. These characters have led some workers to question the hominid status of the palate, suggesting that it is both too large and too primitive to belong to the same individual as the Sangiran 4 cranial fragments. The palate has instead been diagnosed as a new species of Pongo. The present study re-evaluates this controversy through the analysis of new metric data and comparisons with more recently published fossil discoveries. This analysis shows that the Sangiran 4 palate is not unique, and shares several of these putative pongid traits with other Javan hominid fossils as well as recently described hominid specimens from Dmanisi, Georgia. These results suggest that the evolution of the earliest Asians was more complex than has previously been appreciated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-122
Number of pages12
JournalHOMO- Journal of Comparative Human Biology
Volume59
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 27 2008

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