Our research objectives
Assessing the morphological variability of robust australopithecines is the main aim of Para\doxes, as this is the basis of testing hypotheses regarding their phylogeny and evolution. In this context, a focus on intraspecific variability is fundamental given its importance in defining biologically meaningful units. Re-evaluation of taxonomical relationships is a secondary aim, and we will test monophyletic and paraphyletic hypotheses.
Key questions include:
- Is the current species-level paradigm of robust australopithecines biologically accurate or is there unrecognized taxonomical diversity?
- Are phylogenetic relations between A./P. boisei and A./P. robustus better explained by monophyly or paraphyly?
- Is A./P. aethiopicus a suitable ancestor for robust australopithecines as a monophyletic group?