Teeth and Jaws

The teeth of australopithecines are similar to those of humans. The molars are similar, although larger. They do not have the large canine teeth of apes, and the jaw has the parabolic shape of human jaws, rather than the rectangular shape of ape jaws.

Studying human and modern ape fossils in the 1950s, Le Gros Clark came up with a list of eleven consistent differences between humans and apes. Looking at Australopithecus africanus and A. robustus, the only australopithecine species then known, he found that they were humanlike rather than apelike in every characteristic (Johanson and Edey 1981).

Judged by the same criteria, A. afarensis falls somewhere between humans and apes, and possibly closer to the apes.

This illustration is from "Humankind Emerging", edited by Bernard Campbell.

This page is part of the Fossil Hominids FAQ at the talk.origins Archive.

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http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/jaws.html, 04/28/97
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