A new method for measuring clavicular curvature
OH 89: A newly described ~1.8-million-year-old hominid clavicle from Olduvai Gorge
Recommendation: posted 24 September 2023, validated 26 October 2023
Garcia, N. (2023) A new method for measuring clavicular curvature. Peer Community in Paleontology, 100218. 10.24072/pci.paleo.100218
The evolution of the hominid clavicle has not been studied in depth by paleoanthropologists given its high morphological variability and the scarcity of complete diagnosable specimens. A nearly complete Nacholapithecus clavicle from Kenya (Senut et al. 2004) together with a fragment from Ardipithecus from the Afar region of Ethiopia (Lovejoy et al. 2009) complete our knowledge of the Miocene record. The Australopithecus collection of clavicles from Eastern and South African Plio-Pleistocene sites is slightly more abundant but mostly represented by fragmentary specimens. The number of fossil clavicles increases for the genus Homo from more recent sites and thus our potential knowledge about the shoulder evolution.
In their new contribution, Taylor et al. (2023) present a detailed analysis of OH 89, a ~1.8-million-year-old partial hominin clavicle recovered from Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania). The work goes over previous studies which included clavicles found in the hominid fossil record. The text is accompanied by useful tables of data and a series of excellent photographs. It is a great opportunity to learn its role in the evolution of the hominid shoulder gird as clavicles are relatively poorly preserved in the fossil record compared to other long bones. The study compares the specimen OH 89 with five other hominid clavicles and a sample of 25 modern clavicles, 30 Gorilla, 31 Pan and 7 Papio. The authors propose a new methodology for measuring clavicular curvature using measurements of sternal and acromial curvature, from which an overall curvature measurement is calculated. The study of OH 89 provides good evidence about the hominid who lived 1.8 million years ago in the Olduvai Gorge region. This time period is especially relevant because it can help to understand the morphological changes that occurred between Australopithecus and the appearance of Homo. The authors conclude that OH 89 is the largest of the hominid clavicles included in the analysis. Although they are not able to assign this partial element to species level, this clavicle from Olduvai is at the larger end of the variation observed in Homo sapiens and show similarities to modern humans, especially when analysing the estimated sinusoidal curvature.
Lovejoy, C. O., Suwa, G., Simpson, S. W., Matternes, J. H., and White, T. D. (2009). The Great Divides: Ardipithecus ramidus peveals the postcrania of our last common ancestors with African apes. Science, 326(5949), 73–106. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1175833
Senut, B., Nakatsukasa, M., Kunimatsu, Y., Nakano, Y., Takano, T., Tsujikawa, H., Shimizu, D., Kagaya, M., and Ishida, H. (2004). Preliminary analysis of Nacholapithecus scapula and clavicle from Nachola, Kenya. Primates, 45(2), 97–104. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-003-0073-5
Taylor, C., Masao, F., Njau, J. K., Songita, A. V., and Hlusko, L. J. (2023). OH 89: A newly described ∼1.8-million-year-old hominid clavicle from Olduvai Gorge. bioRxiv, 526656, ver. 6 peer-reviewed by PCI Paleo. https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.02.02.526656
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article. The authors declared that they comply with the PCI rule of having no financial conflicts of interest in relation to the content of the article.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. BCS 1025263, NSF DGE 1752814, and was supported in part the European Research Council Advanced Grant Project 101054659—Tied2Teeth.
Evaluation round #1
DOI or URL of the preprint: https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.02.02.526656
Version of the preprint: 4
Author's Reply, 16 Aug 2023
Decision by Nuria Garcia, posted 13 Apr 2023, validated 13 Apr 2023
The manuscript entitled OH 89: A newly described ~1.8-million-year-old hominid clavicle from Olduvai Gorge, has been reviewed by two experts in the field, who found the manuscript contains important information suitable for publication. However, both have found a lack of clarity in the methodology applied.
The two reviewers have suggested a better explanation of the methodology such as how to measure the curvature, calculate the radius, locate the center…
With the revised text, considering each of the referees’ suggestions/comments, the manuscript would be suitable to be recommended.