Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Anthropology (MA)

Degree Level





Peter S. Ungar

Committee Member

Lucas Delezene

Second Committee Member

Joseph M. Plavcan

Third Committee Member

Frederick Grine


Anthropology, Diet, Hominin, Microwear, Paranthropus, Teeth


The original microwear texture baseline for South African hominins was done by Scott et al. (2005) and concluded that Paranthropus robustus exhibited higher complexity values (Asfc) that are seen in occasional hard object feeders. Australopithecus africanus has higher anisotropy values (epLsar) consistent with consuming tough objects. This study expands upon this baseline by increasing the sample size from n = 9 for P. robustus and n = 10 for Au. africanus to n = 66 and n = 44, respectively. Additionally, this study incorporates multiple different sites and deposits. The P. robustus sample includes Drimolen, Kromdraai, and an expanded sample from Swartkrans, incorporating samples from Member 1 Hanging Remnant, Member 1 Lower Bank, Member 2, and Member 3. The Au. africanus sample expands the Sterkfontein sample and also incorporates Makapansgat.

White-light confocal microscopy in conjunction with scale-sensitive fractal analysis quantifies microwear texture variables. In addition, ISO parameters are also incorporated to further elaborate on specific attributes of texture patterns. ANOVA and MANOVA tests assess differences among central tendencies between taxa as well as among deposits. Pairwise tests assess differences in dispersion among P. robustus bearing deposits. Between taxa, the same complexity and anisotropy patterns seen in the previous study are also seen in this study. Among the P. robustus bearing deposits, there were no significant differences among central tendencies, but there were differences in dispersion. This suggests that while there is variation in textures among P. robustus samples, these differences are not outside the overall range seen for the species.