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Locomotion, diet, body weight, origin and geochronology of Metridiochoerus andrewsi from the Gondolin Karst Deposits, Gauteng, South Africa

  • Journal Title: Annals of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History
  • Volume: Volume 3
  • Issue: 
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 33  - 47
  • Authors:  Martin Pickford;
  • ISSN: 22204563
  • Abstract:  The Pleistocene karst deposits at Gondolin have yielded cranial, dental and postcranial remains of a large suid, Metridiochoerus andrewsi. Previous studies indicated the presence of three individuals of diverse ontogenetic ages (at least four individuals are now known from the deposit).The exceptionally hypsodont molars of the species indicate that it was an obligate grass eater, while elements of the postcranial skeleton, in particular the distal radio-ulna and the first row of carpal bones, suggest that this species of suid was probably a wrist-walker (carpograde) while grazing, much in the style of the warthog, Phacochoerus. Estimates of body weight of the species on the basis of the tibio-talar joint dimensions, scaling up from the extant warthog, suggests adult body weights of c. 380 kg for males and c. 270 kg for females (±50 kg covers individual body weight variation). The metridiochoeres (Potamochoeroides, Metridiochoerus, Phacochoerus) descended from a European lineage 'Postpotamochoerus' provincialis. Metric data of the third molars indicate that the Gondolin species represents a late population of Metridiochoerus andrewsi, Stage III, which in turn suggests and age of c. 1.6-1.5 Ma for the deposits. The site also yielded a fragment of lower canine of a warthog, Phacochoerus sp.
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