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Braga et al, “Hominin fossils from Kromdraai and Drimolen inform Paranthropus robustus craniofacial ontogeny”, Sci. Adv. 9, 3 May 2023

Fossil cranial remains of four immature (=juvenile) individuals belonging to the species Paranthropus robustus have been discovered at the Kromdraai and Drimolen sites in South Africa. This is an exceptional discovery, since it is the first time that immature fossils belonging to this species have been found. The Paranthropus robustus species, which lived between 2.2 and 1.2 million years ago in South Africa, is characterized by particularly robust cranial features. The study of these immature individuals sheds light on the craniofacial development of this species, which is so different from our own. Indeed, we know very little about the ontogenic development of other Hominin species, and tend to infer data from what we know about our own species, Homo sapiens. However, it is highly probable that the developments were different! This discovery also enables us to compare the development of Paranthropus robustus with another Hominin species for which an immature has also been discovered, Australopithecus africanus.

Published in May 2023 in the journal Science Advances, the study shows that most of the facial morphological features ofParanthropus robustus appear late in development.

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