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Table of Contents
Vol. 56, No. 2, 1991
Issue release date: 1991
Folia Primatol 1991;56:65–85
(DOI:10.1159/000156531)

Similarities in Aegyptopithecus and Afropithecus Facial Morphology

Leakey M.G. · Leakey R.E. · Richtsmeier J.T. · Simons E.L. · Walker A.C.
aNational Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya; bDepartment of Cell Biology and Anatomy, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md., USA; cDuke University Primate Center, Durham, N.C., USA

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Abstract

Recently discovered cranial fossils from the Oligocene deposits of the Fayum depression in Egypt provide many details of the facial morphology of Aegyptopithecus zeuxis. Similar features are found in the Miocene hominoid Afropithecus turkanensis. Their presence is the first good evidence of a strong phenetic link between the Oligocene and Miocene hominoids of Africa. A comparison of trait lists emphasizes the similarities of the two fossil species, and leads us to conclude that the two fossil genera share many primitive facial features. In addition, we studied facial mophology using finite-element scaling analysis and found that the two genera show similarities in mophological integration, or the way in which biological landmarks relate to one another in three dimensions to define the form of the organism. Size differences between the two genera are much greater than the relatively minor shape differences. Analysis of variability in landmark location among the four Aegyptopithecus specimens indicates that variability within the sample is not different from that found within two samples of modern macaques. We propose that the shape differences found among the four Aegyptopithecus specimens simply reflect individual variation in facial characteristics, and that the similarities in facial moφhology between Aegyptopithecus and Afropithecus probably represent a complex of primitive facial features retained over millions of years.



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