New flat-faced human species possibly discovered – CBS News

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New fossils from the dawn of the human lineage suggest our ancestors may have lived alongside a diversity of extinct human species, researchers say.


Although modern humans, Homo sapiens, are the only human species alive today, the world has seen a number of human species come and go. Other members perhaps include the recently discovered “hobbit” Homo floresiensis.

The human lineage, Homo, evolved in Africa about 2.5 million years ago, coinciding with the first evidence of stone tools. For the first half of the last century, conventional wisdom was that the most primitive member of our lineage was Homo erectus, the direct ancestor of our species. However, just over 50 years ago, scientists discovered an even more primitive species of Homo at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania they dubbed Homo habilis, which had a smaller brain and a more apelike skeleton.

Now fossils between 1.78 million and 1.95 million years old discovered in 2007 and 2009 in northern Kenya suggest that early Homo were quite a diverse bunch, with at least one other extinct human species living at the same time as H. erectus and H. habilis.

“Two species of the genus Homo, our own genus, lived alongside our direct ancestor, Homo erectus, nearly 2 million years ago,” researcher Meave Leakey at the Turkana Basin Institute in Nairobi, Kenya, told LiveScience.

A skull known as KNM-ER 1470, found in 1972 in Kenya, was at the center of the debate over the number of species of early Homo living nearly 2 million years ago. It had a larger brain and a flatter face than H. habilis, leading some researchers to declare it a distinct species they dubbed Homo rudolfensis.

Written By: Charles Choi
continue to source article at cbsnews.com

10 COMMENTS

  1. There was a similar article from the BBC, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/scie… – based on an original article in Nature -  http://www.nature.com/nature/j

    The BBC version includes an interesting proposed Human lineage chart illustrating the relationships between the various Homo species.

    There are some alternative earlier lineage ideas presented in the National Geographic – http://ngm.nationalgeographic…. – also discussing A sediba.

  2. This makes no sense to me. The questions about where to place 1470, as far as I understand, were because they only had skull pieces and nothing they could place that belongs to the lower body. Now they find two more skull pieces and they (whoever they are) want to firmly place 1470 in the Homo line. As far as I know, there are still those who argue that 1470 is a later descendant of H. habilis or even a member of Australopithecus. I don’t see anything here or  elsewhere that has ended or even improved this debate.

    [edit] Ok, after reading the Nature link by Alan, I see that “they” are using the newly found dental specimens to place 1470 in with H. f I will withhold judgement until a consensus is reached. But this is interesting, I thought they had the teeth of 1470.

  3. Why would an all knowing and loving god who punishes those who do not believe in him and demands unquestioned worship, place anything for his precious creation to find that would directly question his existence?

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