M. Ponce de León and Ch. Zollikofer, Univ. of Zurich
A remarkably complete, roughly 1.8-million-year-old fossil skull with a surprising set of features adds key evidence to the controversial idea that early members of the Homo genus evolved as one species living in both western Asia and Africa, scientists say.
The new find, and the remains of four other skulls previously unearthed at a site called Dmanisi, in the nation of Georgia, belonged to Homo erectus despite some big differences in shape and size, say paleoanthropologist David Lordkipanidze of the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi and his colleagues. The magnitude of skull diversity at Dmanisi indicates that African Homo fossils dating to shortly before and after 1.8 million years ago can be folded into a single, intercontinental H. erectus population, the researchers conclude in the Oct. 18 Science.
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