HOPE report


Locomotor adaptation of Ugandan fossil hominoids

Report:Nakatsukasa, Masato

Date:2009/01/13 - 2009/02/09

I visited the Uganda Museum in Kampala and the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) in Nairobi and examined fossil ape specimens housed in these institutions. Morotopithecus fossils were studied in Kampala. The well-known lumbar vertebra of Morotopithecus (UMP 67. 28) is associated with a poorly-preserved vertebral body (Mor II 61). This specimen has been incorrectly thought as a thoracic vertebra, but in fact it is a lumbar vertebra. It is similar to UMP 67. 28 in several regards, but differs in the position of the transverse process, an important character of the lumbar spine adaptation and hominoid phylogenetic hypothesis. It was revealed that the 1960's collection from Moroto by W. Bishop includes a yet-described left navicular of a large-bodied ape. So far, Morotopithecus is the only large-bodied ape known from the localities of Moroto, thus, this specimen is reasonably assigned to Morotopithecus (the first tarsal specimen of this taxon). These specimens were compared with specimens of other fossil apes housed in the NMK.

Uganda Museum

Distant view of Kampala

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