A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
A nearly complete skull belonging to a female Paranthropus robustus, an australopithecine that thrived in Africa 1.5 to 2 million years ago, has highlighted the differences between males and females within this early hominid species. Discovered at Drimolen, near the fossil-rich site of Swartkrans, South Africa, which in 1948 yielded one of the best-known examples of P. robustus, the skull was found alongside the mandible, or lower jaw, of a male. According to Andre Keyser of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, the female skull differs significantly from that of a male. Apart from being markedly smaller, females lacked a pronounced ridge, known as a sagittal crest, atop the cranial vault, a difference present in gorillas today.