Buronius manfredschmidi—A new small hominid from the early late Miocene of Hammerschmiede (Bavaria, Germany)

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Böhme, M.; Begun, D. R.; Holmes, A. C.; Lechner, T.; Ferreira, G.
Year of Publication: 2024
Journal: PLOS ONE
Volume: 19
Issue: 6
Pagination: e0301002 -
Date Published: 2024/06/07
Publication Language: eng

The known diversity of European middle and late Miocene hominids has increased significantly during the last decades. Most of these great apes were frugivores in the broadest sense, ranging from soft fruit frugivores most like chimpanzees to hard/tough object feeders like orangutans, varying in size from larger than siamangs (over 17 kg) to larger than most chimpanzees (~60–70 kg). In contrast to the frequent sympatry of hominoids in the early-to-middle Miocene of Africa, in no European Miocene locality more than one hominid taxon has been identified. Here we describe the first case of hominid sympatry in Europe from the 11.62 Ma old Hammerschmiede HAM 5 level, best known from its excellent record of Danuvius guggenmosi. The new fossils are consistent in size with larger pliopithecoids but differ morphologically from any pliopithecoid and from Danuvius. They are also distinguished from early and middle Miocene apes, share affinities with late Miocene apes, and represent a small hitherto unknown late Miocene ape Buronius manfredschmidi. With an estimated body mass of about 10 kg it represents the smallest known hominid taxon. The relative enamel thickness of Buronius is thin and contrasts with Danuvius, whose enamel is twice as thick. The differences between Buronius and Danuvius in tooth and patellar morphology, enamel thickness and body mass are indicative of differing adaptations in each, permitting resource partitioning, in which Buronius was a more folivorous climber.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0301002