The upper limb of Australopithecus sediba.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The evolution of the human upper limb involved a change in function from its use for both locomotion and prehension (as in apes) to a predominantly prehensile and manipulative role. Well-preserved forelimb remains of 1.98-million-year-old Australopithecus sediba from Malapa, South Africa, contribute to our understanding of this evolutionary transition. Whereas other aspects of their postcranial anatomy evince mosaic combinations of primitive (australopith-like) and derived (Homo-like) features, the upper limbs (excluding the hand and wrist) of the Malapa hominins are predominantly primitive and suggest the retention of substantial climbing and suspensory ability. The use of the forelimb primarily for prehension and manipulation appears to arise later, likely with the emergence of Homo erectus.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Churchill, SE; Holliday, TW; Carlson, KJ; Jashashvili, T; Macias, ME; Mathews, S; Sparling, TL; Schmid, P; de Ruiter, DJ; Berger, LR

Published Date

  • April 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 340 / 6129

Start / End Page

  • 1233477 -

PubMed ID

  • 23580536

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-9203

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0036-8075

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1126/science.1233477


  • eng