New hominin dental remains from the Drimolen Main Quarry, South Africa (1999–2008)
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-05, 02:17 authored by Angeline LeeceAngeline Leece, Jess MartinJess Martin, Andrew HerriesAndrew Herries, A Riga, CG Menter, J Moggi-Cecchi
Objectives: Twenty-four dental specimens from the Drimolen Main Quarry (DMQ) are described. This increases the number of DMQ Paranthropus robustus specimens from 48 to 63 and DMQ Homo specimens from 8 to 12. This allows reassessment of the proposed differences between the DMQ P. robustus assemblage and that of Swartkrans. Analysis conducted assesses intraspecific and inter-locality variation. Materials and Methods: We examined the P. robustus and early Homo assemblages from South Africa. Morphology was observed using a hand lens and a binocular microscope. Mesiodistal and buccolingual measurements were taken using plastic-tipped calipers. Summary statistics were generated and patterns of variability in P. robustus were assessed through box plots and Mann–Whitney U tests. Results: Comparison between the expanded DMQ and Swartkrans P. robustus assemblages demonstrates overlap in size. Ten dental variables show statistically significant differences. Discussion: The expanded P. robustus sample allowed us to re-examine previous analyses of differences in tooth size between the samples. While analyses presented here show a high degree of overlap in the MD and BL dimensions of the two assemblages, significant differences were found in the mean values of these variables in the postcanine maxillary teeth—consistent with previous analyses. Two current hypotheses may explain this pattern: 1) dental size increase through the P. robustus lineage or 2) different sample composition between the two sites. Small sample sizes for all permanent dental classes in the DMQ assemblage represents a limitation on this analysis and interpretations thereof. Any addition to the DMQ or the Swartkrans samples may alter these results.