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Preliminary paleohistological observations of the StW 573 ('Little Foot') skull

DOI: 10.7554/eLife.64804 DOI Help

Authors: Amelie Beaudet (University of Cambridge; University of the Witwatersrand; Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; University of Pretoria) , Robert C. Atwood (Diamond Light Source) , Winfred Kockelmann (ISIS Facility) , Vincent Fernandez (Natural History Museum) , Thomas Connolley (Diamond Light Source) , Nghia Trong Vo (Diamond Light Source) , Ronald Clarke (University of the Witwatersrand) , Dominic Stratford (University of the Witwatersrand)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Elife , VOL 10

State: Published (Approved)
Published: March 2021
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 21334

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: Numerous aspects of early hominin biology remain debated or simply unknown. However, recent developments in high-resolution imaging techniques have opened new avenues in the field of paleoanthropology. More specifically, X-ray synchrotron-based analytical imaging techniques have the potential to provide crucial details on the ontogeny, physiology, biomechanics, and biological identity of fossil specimens. Here we present preliminary results of our X-ray synchrotron-based investigation of the skull of the 3.67-million-year-old Australopithecus specimen StW 573 (‘Little Foot’) at the I12 beamline of the Diamond Light Source (United Kingdom). Besides showing fine details of the enamel (i.e., hypoplasias) and cementum (i.e., incremental lines), as well as of the cranial bone microarchitecture (e.g., diploic channels), our synchrotron-based investigation reveals for the first time the 3D spatial organization of the Haversian systems in the mandibular symphysis of an early hominin.

Journal Keywords: Evolutionary Biology; diploic channels; Australopithecus; Haversian system; hypoplasia

Diamond Keywords: Palaeoanthropology

Subject Areas: Biology and Bio-materials

Instruments: I12-JEEP: Joint Engineering, Environmental and Processing

Added On: 02/03/2021 10:02


Discipline Tags:

Earth Sciences & Environment Evolution Palaeontology Life Sciences & Biotech Evolutionary science

Technical Tags:

Imaging Tomography