The description1 of the AL 333-105 cranium from the East African Pliocene provides a new opportunity to re-examine the suggestion2-4 that the Taung child may be a robust rather than a gracile form of early hominid. Comparisons of these two crania with the skulls of living and fossil hominoids indicate that AL 333-105 possesses autapomorphic features associated with paranthropine masticatory hypertrophy, and provide additional evidence for the existence of this lineage in the Hadar Formation. Here, I report a study of the facial morphology of the Taung specimen which, together with recent observations on its dentition5, provides strong evidence against the allocation of the Taung child to the Paranthropus clade. The identity of the specimen is recognized as being in the Homo lineage.
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