Vertebral pathology in the Afar australopithecines

D. C. Cook, Jane Buikstra, C. J. DeRousseau, Donald Johanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Ten vertebral elements from the AL‐288 partial hominid skeleton and 11 elements from the AL‐333 collection are described. The AL‐288 column presents a marked kyphosis at the level of thoracic vertebrae 6 through 10, with pronounced new bone formation on the ventral surfaces of these vertebrae. These features, associated with narrowed disc space and minor osteophytosis, resemble Scheuermann disease in the human. Even though this diagnosis is consistent with a basically human, bipedal locomotor repertoire, the presence of Scheuermann disease suggests that lifting, climbing, or acrobatic activities may have been important in early hominids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-101
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican journal of physical anthropology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1983


  • Australopithecine
  • Early hominids
  • Scheuermann disease
  • Spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


Dive into the research topics of 'Vertebral pathology in the Afar australopithecines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this