A new study published in this month’s edition of Nature shows evidence that early hominins (pre-human groups), specifically Australopithecus africanis and Paranthropus robustus demonstrate evidence that the males were more sedentary – often staying within close proximity to their home cave settlements, wherease the females were peripatetic – often migrating hundreds of miles within their lifetime.
If true, this study demonstrates that hominins (including humans) correlate to standing behaviors we see in other groups, such as Chimpanzees, but conflicts with the behaviors we see in Gorillas or Baboons
Such a pattern is similar to that seen in chimpanzee societies, where males in a particular locale tend to stick together to defend their turf from interlopers. In order to guard against inbreeding, the younger females are likelier than the males to migrate for mating. Copeland said the situation is different for gorillas. In those societies, the dominant male gorilla rules over a harem that tends to stay put, while younger males usually have to go someplace else to find their own mates.
This study can help us to understand the mating and migratory roles of early hominin groups. You can read more about this discover in this month’s Nature or via the Cosmic Log at MNSBC.
A new hominin discovery, Australopithecus sediba, has thrown the anthropological world into a flurry as they seek to place the new species on the human family tree. Some have argued that as a member of the genus Australopithecus, the new species should be viewed as an immediate ancestor to members of the genus Homo (including ourselves, the illustrius Homo sapiens sapiens). Still, it seems more readily positioned as a distance ‘cousin’ on the human family tree.