Makapansgat suids and Metridiochoerus
Cooke, H. B. S.
BERNARD PRICE INSTITUTE FOR PALAEONTOLOGICAL RESEARCH
Fossil suid material from Member 3 of the Makapansgat Formation was described as Potamochoeroides shawi but some authors have regarded it as an early stage of the Metridiochoerus andrewsi lineage. There is no complete cranium so a new reconstruction has been based on combining the data from a number of partial specimens. Comparison with Metridiochoerus andrewsi is difficult as there are reasons to suspect that the so-called ‘male’ and ‘female’ crania from Koobi Fora could be specifically distinct. An undescribed cranium from the Omo Shungura Formation is morphologically similar to the ‘male’ and is attributed to Metridiochoerus jacksoni. Comparison with the reconstructed Makapansgat suid indicates that the latter already shows an early stage in the distinctive architecture of the M. jacksoni cranium, as well as some resemblances in dental features. Accordingly it is suggested that the Makapansgat suid be designated as Metridiochoerus shawi. A few teeth from Member B11 of the Shungura Formation, with an age close to 2.95 Ma, are placed provisionally as M. cf. shawi; previously described molars referred to an early Notochoerus scotti are probably from a similar level. While this is suggestive, correlation is not firmly established.