The vertebral column of Australopithecus sediba.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Two partial vertebral columns of Australopithecus sediba grant insight into aspects of early hominin spinal mobility, lumbar curvature, vertebral formula, and transitional vertebra position. Au. sediba likely possessed five non-rib-bearing lumbar vertebrae and five sacral elements, the same configuration that occurs modally in modern humans. This finding contrasts with other interpretations of early hominin regional vertebral numbers. Importantly, the transitional vertebra is distinct from and above the last rib-bearing vertebra in Au. sediba, resulting in a functionally longer lower back. This configuration, along with a strongly wedged last lumbar vertebra and other indicators of lordotic posture, would have contributed to a highly flexible spine that is derived compared with earlier members of the genus Australopithecus and similar to that of the Nariokotome Homo erectus skeleton.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Williams, SA; Ostrofsky, KR; Frater, N; Churchill, SE; Schmid, P; Berger, LR

Published Date

  • April 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 340 / 6129

Start / End Page

  • 1232996 -

PubMed ID

  • 23580532

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-9203

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0036-8075

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1126/science.1232996


  • eng