n Annals of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History - Comparative morphometric analysis of a juvenile papionin (Primates : Cercopithecidae) from Kromdraai A

Volume 6, Issue 07
  • ISSN : 2220-4563


This study investigates the taxonomic and morphometric affinities of a newly catalogued fossil papionin from Kromdraai A. The juvenile specimen (KA 5993), which preserves the face and cranial base anterior to the spheno-occipital synchondrosis, is notable for its small size and well-developed maxillary fossae. Geometric morphometric analyses were conducted to test the hypothesis that KA 5993 represents a juvenile of Papio , the only small- to medium-sized papionin definitively recognized at Kromdraai. Three-dimensional landmarks and semilandmarks were collected from a digital 3D model of the KA 5993 specimen. The comparative sample comprised 232 juvenile and adult crania representing five extant papionin genera and two specimens of angusticeps. To broaden comparisons, developmental simulation was used to estimate the subadult and adult morphologies of KA 5993.Sliding surface semilandmarkswere used to compare the zygomaxillary morphology of KA 5993 with juveniles of Lophocebus and Papio. The affinities of the KA 5993 specimen were assessed using Procrustes distances and principal components analysis. Additionally, its dental measurements were compared to those of extant and fossil papionins. Results show that KA 5993 represents a small member of the genus Papio. Its juvenile and estimated adult facial proportions are most similar to those of the extant Kinda baboon (Papio hamadryas kindae). It is distinguished from extant Papio by the presence of deeply excavated suborbital fossae with anteriorly projecting margins and from by the narrower breadth and deeper excavation of its suborbital fossa; its greater relative facial breadth; and some qualitative and metric traits of the permanent dentition. These findings provide only limited support for the hypothesis that KA 5993 represents a juvenile of . Rather, it may represent a previously unknown subspecies of , possibly ancestral to the central African Papio clade that includes the modern Kinda baboon. Future studies including additional juvenile and adult specimens of are necessary to clarify the taxonomic status of this specimen. In the interim, we provisionally refer this juvenile specimen to ssp. indet.

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