Big Woman with a Distant Past: Stone Age gal embodies humanity's cold shifts | Science News

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Big Woman with a Distant Past: Stone Age gal embodies humanity's cold shifts

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10:57am, February 22, 2006

A 260,000-year-old partial skeleton excavated in northwestern China 22 years ago represents our largest known female ancestor, according to a new analysis of the individual's extensive remains.

This ancient woman puts a modern twist on Stone Age human evolution, say Karen R. Rosenberg of the University of Delaware in Newark, Lü Zuné of Peking University in Beijing, and Chris B. Ruff of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. The fossil individual's large size and the apparent adaptation of her body to cold conditions are "consistent with the idea that patterns of human anatomical variation that we see today have deep evolutionary roots," Rosenberg asserts.

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