Mandibular Remains Support Taxonomic Validity of Australopithecus sediba

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title







Since the announcement of the species Australopithecus sediba, questions have been raised over whether the Malapa fossils represent a valid taxon or whether inadequate allowance was made for intraspecific variation, in particular with reference to the temporally and geographically proximate species Au. africanus. The morphology of mandibular remains of Au. sediba, including newly recovered material discussed here, shows that it is not merely a late-surviving morph of Au. africanus. Rather—as is seen elsewhere in the cranium, dentition, and postcranial skeleton—these mandibular remains share similarities with other australopiths but can be differentiated from the hypodigm of Au. africanus in both size and shape as well as in their ontogenetic growth trajectory.


Author Posting. © American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2013. It is posted here by permission of American Association for the Advancement of Science for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Science, Volume 340, Issue 6129, April 12 2013,http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1232997.

This article is part of a special issue of Science that has been made open access, which is available at http://www.sciencemag.org/site/extra/sediba/.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

This document is currently not available here.