Mark Oetjens

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Smith, Fred H.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Anthropology


Craniology; Fossil hominids


This thesis looks at the supraorbital region of Homo habilis sensu lato, or early Homo, to determine whether distinct, multiple morphs that can not be attributed to sexual dimorphism exist in this region, thus supporting the presence of multiple taxa within the sample. To do this the early Homo sample is compared, both morphologically and metrically, to a variety of fossil human groups, including Australopithecus africanus, robust australopithecines, and early African Homo erectus or Homo ergaster as well as to gorillas and chimpanzees. Four measurements were taken on each specimen: (1) vertical thickness of the torus, (2) anteroposterior chord thickness of the torus, (3) anteroposterior arc thickness of the torus, and (4) anteroposterior arc thickness of glabella. The coefficient of variation (CV) was then calculated for each measurement for each group. The CV was also calculated for anteroposterior torus thickness index. The early Homo CVs were then compared with those of the outgroups. Unfortunately, the results from these comparisons were inconclusive. The anteroposterior torus thickness index does, however, suggest that SK 80/847 shares affinities with Homo erectus/ergaster. Morphologically, three clear supraorbital morphs were found within the early \ Homo sample, one with a supratoral sulcus, as seen in KNM-ER 1813, one in which the supraorbital tori are continuous with the frontal squama, as seen in KNM-ER 1470, and one in which the tori sweep back and up into the frontal squama, as seen in Stw 53. Compared to the outgroups, which showed either one or two morphs, early Homo is considered more variable. Furthermore, the pattern of variation seen within the early Homo sample does not fit the pattern of sexual dimorphism seen in the African apes. Therefore, the variation seen in early Homo supports the presence of multiple taxa within the sample.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [64]-67)


vi, 74 pages




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