Otavipithecus namibiensis, first Miocene hominoid from southern Africa

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Abstract

WE report here the discovery of a Miocene hominoid from Berg Aukas, Namibia, the first known from the African continent south of equatorial East Africa. This represents a major range extension of Miocene Hominoidea in Africa to latitude 20° S. The holotype, a right mandibular corpus preserving the crowns of the P4–M3, partial crown and root of the P3, partial root of the canine, alveoli for all four incisors, and partial alveolus for the left canine, was found during paleontological explorations of karst-fill breccias in the Otavi region of northern Namibia. The mandible has unique characteristics that differentiate it from other middle Miocene hominoids of Africa and Eurasia and represents the only fossil evidence documenting a pre-australopithecine stage of hominoid evolution in southern Africa. Faunal analyses indicate that the breccia block containing the specimen accumulated during the latter part of the middle Miocene, about 13 ± 1 Myr. Fauna from other breccia blocks at Berg Aukas are of diverse ages, including the earlier part of the middle Miocene, the upper Miocene, Plio-Pleistocene and Holocene.

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Conroy, G., Pickford, M., Senut, B. et al. Otavipithecus namibiensis, first Miocene hominoid from southern Africa. Nature 356, 144–148 (1992) doi:10.1038/356144a0

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