|Title||Diet of Paranthropus boisei in the early Pleistocene of East Africa|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2011|
|Authors||Cerling, TE, Mbua, E, Kirera, FM, Manthi, FK, Grine, FE, Leakey, MG, Sponheimer, M, Uno, KT|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences|
|Keywords||2011-05-01, boisei, diet, Early Pleistocene, kenya, tanzania|
The East African hominin Paranthropus boisei was characterized by a suite of craniodental features that have been widely interpreted as adaptations to a diet that consisted of hard objects that required powerful peak masticatory loads. These morphological adaptations represent the culmination of an evolutionary trend that began in earlier taxa such as Australopithecus afarensis, and presumably facilitated utilization of open habitats in the Plio-Pleistocene. Here, we use stable isotopes to show that P. boisei had a diet that was dominated by C4 biomass such as grasses or sedges. Its diet included more C4 biomass than any other hominin studied to date, including its congener Paranthropus robustus from South Africa. These results, coupled with recent evidence from dental microwear, may indicate that the remarkable craniodental morphology of this taxon represents an adaptation for processing large quantities of low-quality vegetation rather than hard objects.
Diet of Paranthropus boisei in the early Pleistocene of East Africa
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