Microwear, mechanics and the feeding adaptations of Australopithecus africanus
Recent studies of dental microwear and craniofacial mechanics have yielded contradictory interpretations regarding the feeding ecology and adaptations of Australopithecus africanus. As part of this debate, the methods used in the mechanical studies have been criticized. In particular, it has been claimed that finite element analysis has been poorly applied to this research question. This paper responds to some of these mechanical criticisms, highlights limitations of dental microwear analysis, and identifies avenues of future research.
Strait DS, Weber GW, Constantino PJ, Lucas PW, Chalk J, Richmond BG, Spencer MA, Schrein C, Dechow PC, Ross CF, Grosse IR, Wright BW, Wood BA, Hylander WL, Wang Q, Byron C, Slice DE, Smith AL, Smith LC, Tamvada K. Microwear, mechanics, and the feeding adaptations of Australopithecus africanus. Journal of Human Evolution 62: 165-168.