The Vertebral Column of Australopithecus sediba

  title={The Vertebral Column of Australopithecus sediba},
  author={Scott A. Williams and Kelly R Ostrofsky and Nakita Frater and Steven Emilio Churchill and P. Lennart Schmid and Lee R. Berger},
Two partial vertebral columns of Australopithecus sediba grant insight into aspects of early hominin spinal mobility, lumbar curvature, vertebral formula, and transitional vertebra position. Au. sediba likely possessed five non–rib-bearing lumbar vertebrae and five sacral elements, the same configuration that occurs modally in modern humans. This finding contrasts with other interpretations of early hominin regional vertebral numbers. Importantly, the transitional vertebra is distinct from and… 
Thoracic vertebral count and thoracolumbar transition in Australopithecus afarensis
The discovery of a 3.3 million-year-old partial skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis, from Dikika, Ethiopia, provided the only known evidence for the presence of 12 thoracic vertebrae in hominins prior to 60,000 years ago, and is the earliest example of this distinctive and unusual pattern of axial segmentation.
The Spine of Australopithecus
The vertebrae discussed in this chapter are from five sites in East and South Africa: Aramis, Asa Issie, and Hadar from the Afar Depression of Ethiopia and Sterkfontein and Malapa in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa.
Mosaic Morphology in the Thorax of Australopithecus sediba
The ribs of Australopithecus sediba exhibit a mediolaterally narrow, ape-like upper thoracic shape, which is unlike the broad upper thorax of Homo that has been related to the locomotor pattern of endurance walking and running.
Earliest axial fossils from the genus Australopithecus.
New fossils of Australopithecus sediba reveal a nearly complete lower back
3D GM analyses show that MH2’s nearly complete middle lumbar vertebra is human-like in shape but bears large, cranially-directed transverse processes, implying powerful trunk musculature, and interpret this combination of features to indicate that A. sediba used its lower back in both human- like bipedalism and ape-like arboreal positional behaviors.
Thoracolumbar vertebrae and ribs
Isolated lumbar vertebrae Sts 73 and StW 572 are described here for the first time, and new analyses of the thoracolumbar transition in Australopithecus africanus are provided.
Numbers of Vertebrae in Hominoid Evolution
The results suggest that combined thoracic and lumbar numbers of vertebrae are somewhat phylogenetically structured, with outgroup taxa (two species of Old World monkeys, or cercopithecoids) retaining the primitive number of 19 thoracolumbar vertebraes, hylobatids generally possessing 18 thoracosacral segments, and hominids (great apes and humans) having 17 or 16 thoracobatar vertebre.
Mandibular Remains Support Taxonomic Validity of Australopithecus sediba
The morphology of mandibular remains of Australopithecus sediba shows that it is not merely a late-surviving morph of Au.
Evolution of the hominoid vertebral column: The long and the short of it
An overview of what is known about evolution of the hominoid vertebral column is provided, focusing on the currently available anatomical evidence of three major transitions: tail loss and adaptations to orthograde posture and bipedal locomotion.
Lucy's back: Reassessment of fossils associated with the A.L. 288-1 vertebral column.


Vertebrae numbers of the early hominid lumbar spine.
Doubts are raised about previous conclusions for the presence of six lumbar vertebrae in early hominids and the most parsimonious explanation is that they did not differ from modern humans in the segmentation of the vertebral column.
A Partial Pelvis of Australopithecus sediba
Although it had a small brain and skull, Australopithecus sediba shows some human-like features in its reconstructed pelvis, suggesting that the birthing of larger-brained babies was not driving the evolution of the pelvis at this time.
Vertebral pathology in the afar australopithecines.
The presence of Scheuermann disease in the AL-288 column suggests that lifting, climbing, or acrobatic activities may have been important in early hominids.
Prezygapophyseal articular facet shape in the catarrhine thoracolumbar vertebral column.
  • G. Russo
  • Biology, Medicine
    American journal of physical anthropology
  • 2010
Findings suggest that morphological and functional distinctions in primate vertebral anatomy may be more complex than suggested by a "long-backed" versus "short- backed" dichotomy.
Placement of the diaphragmatic vertebra in catarrhines: implications for the evolution of dorsostability in hominoids and bipedalism in hominins.
A scenario of hominin evolution is proposed in which early hominins evolved cranial displacement from the ancestral hominid condition of common placement to achieve effective lumbar lordosis during the evolution of bipedal locomotion.
The Upper Limb of Australopithecus sediba
The well-preserved forelimb remains of 1.98-million-year-old Australopithecus sediba from Malapa, South Africa, contribute to understanding of this evolutionary transition from its use for both locomotion and prehension to a predominantly prehensile and manipulative role.
Fetal load and the evolution of lumbar lordosis in bipedal hominins
It is shown that human females have evolved a derived curvature and reinforcement of the lumbar vertebrae to compensate for this bipedal obstetric load, suggesting that this adaptation to fetal load preceded the evolution of Homo.
Comparative morphometric study of the australopithecine vertebral series Stw-H8/H41.
Detailed description and comparative morphometric analysis of the australopithecine thoracolumbar vertebral series Stw-H8/H41 and examines spinal mechanics in early hominids confirm that the morphology of the lower spine in australipithecines has no modern analogue in its entirety.