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The robust australopithecines were a side branch of human evolution.They share a number of unique craniodental features that suggest their monophyletic origin. However, virtually all of these traits appear to reflect a singular pattern of nasomaxillary modeling derived from their unusual dental proportions. Therefore, recent cladistic analyses have not resolved the phylogenetic history of these early hominids. Efforts to increase cladistic resolution by defining traits at greater levels of anatomical detail have instead introduced substantial phyletic error.