Cross-sectional geometric properties of the Otavipithecus mandible

Gary T. Schwartz, Glenn C. Conroy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Cross-sectional geometric properties of the postcanine mandibular corpus are determined for the only known specimen of Otavipithecus namibiensis, a middle Miocene hominoid from southern Africa. It is shown that Otavipithecus is unique in that several important mechanical properties of its mandible, including maximum and minimum moments of inertia and distribution of cortical bone, differ from patterns seen in both extant hominoids and the early hominids Australopithecus africanus and Australopithecus (Paranthropus) robustus. This is particularly apparent in the mechanical design of the posterior portion of the mandibular corpus for resisting increased torsional and transverse bending moments. Cortical index values at the level of M2 also reveal that both Otavipithecus and A. africanus are similarly designed to resist increased masticatory loads with relatively less cortical bone area, a highly efficient mechanical design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-623
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of physical anthropology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Computed tomography
  • Functional morphology
  • Mandibular biomechanics
  • Otavipithecus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


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