Baboon’s Extinct Ancestor
Classification of a Australopithecus afaensis

Source 4: labeled diagram of a Australopithecus Afarensis

Australopithecus afarensis is an extinct animal that lived between 3.9 and 2.9 millions years ago.

Australopithecus afarensis is like the modern day baboons, which lived in a sundry range of habitats. Australopithecus afarensis they preferred living in savanna grasslands and woodland areas. The prefer staying places that is close to water, e.g. ponds and rivers.

It was predicted that they have lived in areas within Africa, because Africa had numerous amount of water, plants and woodland resources. The Australopithecus afarensis had the ability to swim from tree to trees, but compared to the modern day baboon, they were less skillful. When compared by size the Australopithecus afarensis it is relatively taller and weights more then a modern day baboon. A male Australopithecus afarensis approximately weights about 59 kilograms and with the height of 150cm tall, wherefore female are slightly shorter and less heavy, they approximately weight 36 kilograms and is about 110-125cm tall. In comparison with other Cercopithecidae animals, it was certain that Australopithecus afarensis were the largest animal. Their predators would have been the large ancient cats, the ancestors of the Leopard, Hyena, Lion, and Tigers.

Its mainly eats fruits and plants. They have a small apatite, therefore they hardly eat any meats. In Africa most large predators would take up all the meat, therefore the chance for the Australopithecus afarensis to access meat is very minor.

The Australopithecus afarensis prefers to hunt in the morning and enjoy its food at night. They hardly hunt at night, their main night time activities are sleeping and hanging out with the rest of the troops. They believe that being together is very important. The Australopithecus afarensis only have a weak eye sight, therefore hunting at night is a very difficult task for them.

There was scientific evidence that point out during this period of time the weather climate in Africa was relatively warm compared to nowadays, therefore the Australopithecus afarensis didn’t have thick layers of hair and fur to keep them warm.

Main reason for extinction:

As mentioned before that the Australopithecus isn’t a large type of animal, and they played as the pray of a numerous amount of animals. The Australopithecus didn’t have large jaws and teeth’s to defend it; therefore whenever they were fighting they would most likely to lose. The Australopithecus is unlike the modern day baboons; it could not easily climb up and down trees and could not swing from one end to another. In comparison with other primates, it is not considered as a talented or experienced climber. With its disadvantages the Australopithecus is considered very easy preys. Therefore the highest possibility of its extinction might be because they are unable to move as fast as others and could not defend itself, therefore they are considered as a very easily animal to prey for. Their lack of aggression has seriously contributed to a vast number of Australopithecus murdered. There were evidences that pointed out that numerous amounts of fossil of Australopithecus, which was attacked by tigers and leopards.


1. Australopithecus has lack of aggression, this happen because they are unable to protect and defend themselves. Their jaws and teeth are in no comparison with the modern day baboons. They had small sized canine and molar sized teeth. These teeth size was just suitable for eating and nibbling but was in no use when fighting or attacking others to protect itself.

- The environmental pressure: The environmental pressure that might have contributed to the adaption might have been the fact that Australopithecus were relatively small sized creatures, which its main source of food were fruits, tree leaves and plants, therefore large teeth’s and jaws wasn’t needs.

2. Australopithecus had excellent social behaviors; they were well connected with their troops. This type of relationship maybe seen within the modern day baboons, living in troops. They believed that staying together would provide them a safe environment and that they will protect each other if another is being attacked. Males were the dominant figures within the group and had aggressive connections with other, and female had to obey males’ orders. Male had more freedom compare to females.

- The environmental pressure: the environmental pressure that might have led to this adaption maybe because of protection. As mentioned before the Australopithecus were easy prey as they didn’t have large jaws and teeth’s and were significantly week. Therefore they believed that living and staying with each other is the best protection they would have. Groups also allow them to complete tasks such as hunting for food much easier and faster.

1. The Australopithecus had large hands and long fingers; their hands were very much similar to the humans nowadays with 5 fingers on both hands. The large hands would have accommodated it climbing ability. Researchers pointed out that even tough Australopithecus were given these long arms and hands, but while compared to the other types of primates it is considered in no comparison.

- The environmental pressure: the environmental pressure that might have led to this adaptation might have because of its abundance of food which were located on top on tall trees.

2. The Australopithecus had long toes; these long toes gave them the ability to run fast but were still in no comparison with their predators.

-The environmental pressure: the environmental structure that might have led to this happening might be because they had to run fast in order to get away with its predators.

- Scientist has suggested that Australopithecus had a small brain. Their brain was approximately in the size of 380cc to 450cc. with such small brain size, the brain activity was limited. This suggested that they were not very intellectually functioning. The size of a modern day human brain is approximately at the size of 1400cc- 1550cc, therefore we could see the comparison, that a Australopithecus had limited brain activities. Scientist also mentioned that when the brain size is large it would have to ability to operate and remember more stuff.

-The environmental pressure: there isn’t much environmental pressure within this adaptation, but this might have led because evidences pointed out that nowadays animals are much smarter while compared to the old ones. The Australopithecus didn’t need to do much thinking in the old days therefore a large brain was necessary.