Catarrhine hallucal metatarsals from the early Miocene site of Songhor, Kenya.

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Songhor is an early Miocene fossil locality in Kenya known for its diverse primate assemblage that includes catarrhine species belonging to the genera Kalepithecus, Limnopithecus, Dendropithecus, Rangwapithecus, and Proconsul. Expeditions to Songhor since the 1930s have recovered unassociated catarrhine postcranial remains from both the fore- and hindlimbs, including multiple elements from the feet. In this study, we describe KNM-SO 31233, a complete left hallucal metatarsal (Mt1), along with several other fragmentary Mt1 specimens (KNM-SO 1080, 5129, 5141, 22235). These fossils were compared to extant catarrhines and platyrrhines, as well as available fossil Miocene catarrhine Mt1s. Morphometric data were obtained from 3D surface renderings and subjected to a number of analyses to assess their phenetic affinity with the comparative sample, make predictions of body mass, and to infer their functional morphology. The size and shape of the Songhor Mt1s are diverse, exhibiting a large robust morph (KNM-SO 5141) similar in size but not in shape to extant African apes, medium-sized morphs (KNM-SO 1080, 5129 and 22235), and a smaller, slender one (KNM-SO 31233) that has a shape resembling arboreal quadrupedal leaping monkeys and suspensory atelines and hylobatids. KNM-SO 31233 is unlike other known fossil Mt1s, and in general, none of the Songhor Mt1s resembled any single extant anthropoid clade or species. The morpho-functional diversity of Songhor Mt1s is consistent with an extensive morphological and phylogenetic catarrhine diversity in the early part of the Miocene epoch.





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Patel, Biren A, Gabriel S Yapuncich, Cassandra Tran and Isaiah O Nengo (2017). Catarrhine hallucal metatarsals from the early Miocene site of Songhor, Kenya. Journal of human evolution, 108. pp. 176–198. 10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.03.013 Retrieved from

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Gabriel Yapuncich

Assistant Professor of the Practice of Medical Education

I hail from the great mountain states of Montana (the state of my birth) and Wyoming (the state of my childhood). I have a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Wisconsin and a bachelor's degree in the evolutionary biology from Columbia University. I completed my PhD in evolutionary anthropology at Duke University in March 2017, working with Dr. Doug M. Boyer. I have taught gross and microanatomy to Duke University School of Medicine students since 2018. In 2021, I joined the DUSOM MD program as an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Medical Education and Director of Accreditation and Continuous Quality Improvement.

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