Bone Viewer

Australopithecus sediba: MH2

  • Geologic Age:

    1.95 Ma - 1.78 Ma

  • Discovery Date:

    4 Sep 2008

  • Discovered By:

    Lee R Berger

  • Discovery Location:

    Malapa, Grootvleispruit Valley, Gauteng, South Africa

  • Specimen Age:


  • Sex:


  • Original Publication:

    Berger et al. 2010

    The MH2 specimen, identified as an adult female, is comprised of maxillary teeth, a partial mandible, and a partial postcranial skeleton1 and may exhibit a number of derived features that provide insights into hominin evolution.

    MH2's postcranial material was encased in clastic deposits and, when excavated, were found to be in partial articulation1,5. The recovered material indicated that MH 2 was similar postcranially to other australopiths. MH 2 as most likely a small bodied hominin with hip, knee, and ankle features of a habitual biped1. MH2 also had primitive morphology of the upper limbs, such as long upper limbs in relation to the lower limbs and a strong flexor apparatus of the hand3 indicative arboreal locomotion.

    Despite the overall similarity to other australopith species, MH2 exhibits several derived traits that suggest Au. sediba may be ancestral to Homo. For example, MH2 also exhibits Homo-like features in her pelvis, but without the driving forces of encephalization and birthing large brained offspring 2. This suggests that these features can develop independently of the forces that were previously considered responsible for changes in morphology. Also, analysis of the hand indicates that MH2 shared several characteristics of tool use that differ from what is observed in OH7 (Homo habilis)3. This suggests that the morphology associated with incipient stone tool production may need to be reconsidered.

    1. Berger LR et al. 2010. Australopithecus sediba: A new species of Homo-like Australopith from South Africa. Science 328:195-204
    2. Kibii JM et al. 2011. A Partial Pelvis of Australopithecus sediba. Science 333:1407-1411.
    3. Kivell T et al. 2011. Australopithecus sediba Hand Demonstrates Mosaic Evolution of Locomotor and Manipulative Abilities. Science 333:1411-1417.
    4. Morris AG. 2010. New hominin fossils from Malapa: The unveiling of Australopithecus sediba . South African Journal of Science 106(3/4): 9-10
    5. de Ruiter DJ, Churchill SE, and Berger LR. 2013. Australopithecus sediba from Malapa, South Africa. In: Reed KE, Fleagle JG, and Leakey RE, editors. The Paleobiology of Australopithecus. New York: Springer 147-160

      View other bones for this specimen: