Re: Miocene and Pliocene apes familiy tree?

Harry Erwin (
Sun, 30 Jul 1995 17:10:20 -0400

In article <3veact$>, (Ludvig Mortberg) wrote:

> Seems a good thread to ask what synapomorphies really join humans with
> either or both african apes. Perhaps Harry Erwin could answer this. He
> apparently sits on a database of primate characters. Would be very
> interesting indeed.
> Ludvig

A real anthropologist like Alex Duncan would be better than me at
answering this. (I'm actually more of a computational scientist--modeling
and databases-- than anything else.) Groves (A theory of human and primate
evolution, Clarendon, 1991) lists the following synaptomorphies for the
African Ape clade (subfamily Homininae):
1. Broad incisive fossa overhung by nasal-alveolar clivus, forming a steep
drop to the floor of the nasal cavity,
2. A number of detailed wrist and ankle modifications,
3. Relatively reduced premolar size,
4. Delayed dental eruption,
5. Structure of heart and aorta,
6. Specialized axillary organ,
7. Preponderance of eccrine glands over body surface,
8. Densely haired scalp,
9. Lengthened small intestine and shortened colon,
10. Earlobes,
11. Frontal sinuses,
12. Sutural patterns, and
13. Foraminal positions.

Most of this stuff doesn't fossilize well.

Harry Erwin
Home Page: (try again if necessary)
PhD student in comp neurosci: "Glitches happen" & "Meaning is emotional"