A hominoid proximal humerus from the Early Miocene of Rusinga Island, Kenya

Daniel L. Gebo, K. Christopher Beard, Mark F. Teaford, Alan Walker, Susan G. Larson, William L. Jungers, John G. Fleagle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Recently, an isolated proximal humerus of an early Miocene hominoid was discovered at Rusinga Island, Kenya. The precise taxonomic allocation of this specimen is currently problematic, but the fossil almost certainly belongs to either Dendropithecus macinnesi or Proconsul africanus. The humeral head is expanded above the greater tuberosity in the new fossil suggesting that this early Miocene hominoid possessed a relatively mobile shoulder joint for climbing as well as for postural and feeding activities, and that rapid protraction at the shoulder joint was not important. This proximal humeral morphology contrasts with that of Aegyptopithecus, but is quite similar to that of Pliopithecus. Among extant primates, a similar proximal humeral morphology occurs in several platyrrhines such as Alouatta, but living apes share several apparently derived features of the proximal humerus which are lacking in the Rusinga Island specimen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-401
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Dendropithecus
  • Humerus
  • Kenya
  • Miocene
  • Proconsul

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology


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