Macrovertebrate Paleontology and the Pliocene Habitat of Ardipithecus Ramidus

Science. 2009 Oct 2;326(5949):87-93.


A diverse assemblage of large mammals is spatially and stratigraphically associated with Ardipithecus ramidus at Aramis. The most common species are tragelaphine antelope and colobine monkeys. Analyses of their postcranial remains situate them in a closed habitat. Assessment of dental mesowear, microwear, and stable isotopes from these and a wider range of abundant associated larger mammals indicates that the local habitat at Aramis was predominantly woodland. The Ar. ramidus enamel isotope values indicate a minimal C4 vegetation component in its diet (plants using the C4 photosynthetic pathway), which is consistent with predominantly forest/woodland feeding. Although the Early Pliocene Afar included a range of environments, and the local environment at Aramis and its vicinity ranged from forests to wooded grasslands, the integration of available physical and biological evidence establishes Ar. ramidus as a denizen of the closed habitats along this continuum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biodiversity
  • Cercopithecidae / anatomy & histology
  • Diet
  • Ecosystem*
  • Environment
  • Ethiopia
  • Fossils*
  • Hominidae* / classification
  • Mammals / anatomy & histology
  • Mammals / classification
  • Paleodontology
  • Plants
  • Population Density
  • Tooth / anatomy & histology
  • Trees