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Australopithecus Thivanamensis

Australopithecus Thivanamensis was a hominid that was extinct and lived ~3-4.9 million years ago. It was found by the American anthropologist, Thi Van, in 1976 in northern Africa, around Hadar, Ethiopia. This hominid was found near the area of where the famed Australopithecus afarensis, “Lucy,” was found.

Scientists believe this hominid was bipedal due to the position of the foramen magnum and due to the brain size, along with other features. Australopithecus Thivanamensis’ brain size was relatively small, about 300-400 cm3. What also proved it to be bipedal was the shape of its fingers, which were straighter than those of hominids that were arboreal, and they are not as curved as those of modern-day apes. Another feature was that Thivanamensis’ femur was angled in more from the hip to the knee, which meant that the foot would have fallen closer to the midline of the body.

Thivanamensis also had thick brow ridges and a pushed forward jaw, which suggested a protruding face. Other features included a slight sagittal crest and thick cheek bones. The thick cheek bones showed that this hominid had an enormous muscle to hold up an equally enormous jaw, which was most likely used to consume raw meat, ground nuts with thick shells, and to chew on rougher, thicker foods. Thivanamensis’ jaw showed teeth consisting of reduced molars and canines that were worn out, most likely due to the way food was consumed.

Although Australopithecus Thivanamensis is related to the Homo species, it was not very tall compared to modern-day Homo species. Similar to Lucy, this hominid was found to be 3-4 feet tall.

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