Australopithecus dating habits

Australopithecus dating habits in females were leaving the family were born in search of a partner

Just as with chimps or of many modern human societies, australopitec females tended to leave their families where they were born, to join other groups, while the male remained in the group that came, according to a study.

According to AFP, in addition to fossil and some very primitive stone tools, have resisted until now very few traces left by australopiteci, distant cousin of modern man, who lived from 2.4 to 1.7 million ago years, and for this reason it is very difficult to compile reliable theories about their lifestyle.

The study was coordinated by Sandi Copeland, the department of human evolution from the Max Planck Institute in Germany, and was published in the British journal Nature.

Among other artifacts, the two species of bipedal hominids (Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus) who lived in the caves of the current South African Transvaal left behind and few teeth.

With laser and mass spectrometry analysis of a mammal teeth allowing researchers to say with a high degree of accuracy whether an individual was born in the place where he lived or died.

Each type of soil can indeed be characterized by variation at the atomic level of a rare earth metal, strontium (strontium 87 and strontium 86). This special cocktail of isotopes of strontium are reflected in food absorbed by mammals, which in turn is reflected in the strontium contained traces of tooth enamel.

And, because strontium is fixed in tooth enamel before adulthood, but could then be modified by biological processes, it is a valuable indicator to identify the routes followed by the South African australopithecus.

Having analyzed 19 teeth australopitec, coordinated by Sandi Copeland scientists have concluded that the older individuals, presumably males, were fed mainly near the caves where they lived. In contrast, smaller individuals, presumably females, were fed outside these geological areas before the age of eight years.

The authors suggest that male australopitec sedentary behavior were to remain in their natal group (filopatrie ") in a geographic area with an area of ​​only 30 square kilometers.

In contrast, females came from more remote areas, so other family groups to join male family when they arrived at the right age to reproduce ("exogamous").

This difference in behavior, differentiated by sex, is found in chimpanzees, bonobos apes and many human societies.

The similarities probably stop at this point. Australopitecul male canines have not developed much like those of females, competition between males of the same group being clearly more intense in comparison to the competitive level of male chimpanzees and gorillas.

The authors believed that "it is unlikely to exist at present a social structure similar to that of australopitecilor" whose anatomy and ecology were very different from those of modern primates.

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