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Nature 185, 946 - 947 (26 March 1960); doi:10.1038/185946a0

The Kanam Jaw

PHILLIP V. TOBIAS

Department of Anatomy, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

THE controversial mandibular fragment from Kanam in Kenya Colony has long been placed in a ‘suspense account’ by most palæo-anthropologists. There is little doubt that the presence of an ostensibly well-developed chin in this fossil, for which a Lower Pleistocene age was claimed1, proved a difficult pill to swallow. As long as the over-simplified notion prevailed that a chin signified Homo sapiens and, as long as the Kanam fragment was deemed to possess a chin, one had to explain the unexpected presence of Homo sapiens in a Lower Pleistocene deposit or discard either the dating of the deposit or the association of the jaw with the deposit.

  1. Leakey, L. S. B. , "Stone Age Races of Kenya" (Oxford Univ. Press, London, 1935).
  2. Lawrence, J. W. P. , Appendix A in ref. 1, p. 139.
  3. Tobias, P. V. , Proc. Fourth Pan-African Congress on Prehistory, Lepoldville (August 1959).
  4. Leakey, L. S. B. , Man, No. 210, 200 (1933).
  5. Vallois, H. V. , l'Anthropologie, 55, 231 (1951).
  6. Vallois, H. V. , C.R. Acad. Sci., Paris, 221, 669 (1945).
  7. Arambourg, C. , and Biberson, P. , Amer. J. Phys. Anthrop., 14, 467 (1956). | Article | PubMed | ISI | ChemPort |
  8. Vallois, H. V. , "La Grotte de Fontéchevade. II. Anthropologie", Mem. 29. (Archiv. de l'Inst. de Pal. Hum., 1958).



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