A partial hominoid innominate from the Miocene of Pakistan: description and preliminary analyses

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Jan 6;112(1):82-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1420275111. Epub 2014 Dec 8.


We describe a partial innominate, YGSP 41216, from a 12.3 Ma locality in the Siwalik Group of the Potwar Plateau in Pakistan, assigned to the Middle Miocene ape species Sivapithecus indicus. We investigate the implications of its morphology for reconstructing positional behavior of this ape. Postcranial anatomy of extant catarrhines falls into two distinct groups, particularly for torso shape. To an extent this reflects different although variable and overlapping positional repertoires: pronograde quadrupedalism for cercopithecoids and orthogrady for hominoids. The YGSP innominate (hipbone) is from a primate with a narrow torso, resembling most extant monkeys and differing from the broader torsos of extant apes. Other postcranial material of S. indicus and its younger and similar congener Sivapithecus sivalensis also supports reconstruction of a hominoid with a positional repertoire more similar to the pronograde quadrupedal patterns of most monkeys than to the orthograde patterns of apes. However, Sivapithecus postcranial morphology differs in many details from any extant species. We reconstruct a slow-moving, deliberate, arboreal animal, primarily traveling above supports but also frequently engaging in antipronograde behaviors. There are no obvious synapomorphic postcranial features shared exclusively with any extant crown hominid, including Pongo.

Keywords: Miocene hominoid; Sivapithecus; innominate; positional behavior; torso shape.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hip / anatomy & histology*
  • Hominidae / anatomy & histology*
  • Pakistan
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Time Factors