14 – Emergence of the robust australopiths—New craniodental adaptations to hard/tough diets

Around 2.7 million years ago

For hominins living on the savannas of Africa, finding food would be a perpetual challenge. The lineage of hominins called Paranthropus faced this challenge by adapting a highly specialized set of dietary adaptations. Paranthropus skulls are most notable for their sagittal crests, a sharp fin of bone protruding from the top of the skull. This provides an anchor for their chewing muscles, which were incredibly powerful. Their molars were flat and extremely large, providing a grinding surface for repeated, mechanical chewing. Overall, there is still confusion about what exact dietary resources these Paranthropines were consuming, but they were extremely well derived to consume these foods.

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    Pliocene5.3 to 2.58 million years ago

Environmental and Climate Changes

  • Shifts to even more open and arid environments 3 to 2.5 Ma

Changing Species