Friday, October 18, 2013

Skull Find Could Change Picture of Early Human Evolutionary History

We may have to change some thinking about early human evolution in a major way, suggests researchers, after studying new fossil finds at the site of Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia. What has previously been thought to be separate ancient human species - Homo erectus,Homo habilisHomo rudolfensis, and Homo ergaster, for example, may actually be variations of one and the same species. This is the conclusion of a recent examination of fossil finds uncovered at this, the world's earliest known hominid site outside of Africa.

The new report describes the analysis of a complete, approximately 1.8-million-year-old cranium that was discovered in 2005 by scientists who, 5 years earlier, uncovered its corresponding mandible (jaw) at the same location. Combined, these fossils now constitute the most complete adult ancient human ancestor skull known to be identified with the Early Pleistocene genus of Homo (the genus of great apes that includes modern humans and species closely related to them). The Early Pleistocene time period ranged between 2.588 ± 0.005 Ma (million years ago) and 0.781 ± 0.005 Ma.
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