Walter Voigt/Lee Berger/Brett Hilton-Barber
House husbands are a new invention.
(PHYSORG)- The males of two bipedal hominid species that roamed the South African savannah more than a million years ago were stay-at-home kind of guys when compared to the gadabout gals, says a new high-tech study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.
The team, which studied teeth from a group of extinct Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus individuals from two adjacent cave systems in South Africa, found more than half of the female teeth were from outside the local area, said CU-Boulder adjunct professor and lead study author Sandi Copeland. In contrast, only about 10 percent of the male hominid teeth were from elsewhere, suggesting they likely grew up and died in the same area.
"One of our goals was to try to find something out about early hominid landscape use," said Copeland, who also is affiliated with the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. "Here we have the first direct glimpse of the geographic movements of early hominids, and it appears the females preferentially moved away from their residential groups."
A paper on the subject is being published in the June 2 issue of Nature. Co-authors included CU-Boulder anthropology Professor Matt Sponheimer, Darryl de Ruiter from Texas A&M University, Julia Lee Thorp from the University of Oxford, Daryl Codron from the University of Zurich, Petrus le Roux from the University of Cape Town, Vaughan Grimes of Memorial University-St. John's campus in Newfoundland and Michael Richards of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.