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Paranthropus (beside human)was one of our relatives, but we don’t descend directly from it, it is one of the many shoots on the “bush” of hominids. They are referred to as the robust australopithecines and as nutcracker men. They are often called nutcracker men because of robust craniodental anatomy, including a large, gorilla-like cranial crest (which suggests strong muscles of mastication,) and large teeth. All species of Paranthropus were bipedal, and lived in times where the genus Homo (that’s us and our ancestors (i.e. Homo erectus)) were prevalent.

Paranthropus had quite different behavior from the genus Homo. It wasn’t as adaptable as Homo. It had a very specialized diet of grubs and plants, which would have made it more reliant on favorable environmental conditions. This is likely why it went extinct, the environment changed, and it couldn’t adapt. 


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