Microwear, mechanics and the feeding adaptations of Australopithecus africanus

J Hum Evol. 2012 Jan;62(1):165-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2011.10.006. Epub 2011 Nov 29.


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.

Publication types

  • News

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Food
  • Fossils
  • Hominidae / anatomy & histology*
  • Hominidae / physiology*
  • Tooth / anatomy & histology*
  • Tooth / physiology*
  • Tooth Wear / physiopathology*