Anterior Nasal Pillars

Rak (1983) has discussed this feature extensively. He associates this feature with P. robustus, arguing that it evolved as a functional response to help absorb stresses associated with the anterior dental complex. This feature, however, should not be confused with canine jugum, which is merely the result of a large robust canine. A true "nasal pillar" is composed of a column-like buttress that extends well beyond the canine root, helping to define the lateral nasal aperture borders (Rak, 1983). Only two character states are recognized: absent (= 0) and variable (= 1). All taxa preserving this region lack anterior pillars, except for Australopithecus, P. robustus, and H. habilis, in which they may, or may not, be present (see also Tobias, 1991; Asfaw et al., 1999; M.G. Leakey et al., 2001; C.V. Ward et al., 2001).

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