Homo habilis, erectus were the same species, study suggests

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The discovery of a 1.8-million-year-old skull of a human ancestor buried under a medieval Georgian village provides a vivid picture of early evolution and indicates our family tree may have fewer branches than some believe, scientists say.

The fossil is the most complete pre-human skull uncovered. With other partial remains previously found at the rural site, it gives researchers the earliest evidence of human ancestors moving out of Africa and spreading north to the rest of the world, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science.

The skull and other remains offer a glimpse of a population of pre-humansof various sizes living at the same time — something that scientists had not seen before for such an ancient era. This diversity bolsters one of two competing theories about the way our early ancestors evolved, spreading out more like a tree than a bush.

Nearly all of the previous pre-human discoveries have been fragmented bones, scattered over time and locations — like a smattering of random tweets of our evolutionary history. The findings at Dmanisi are more complete, weaving more of a short story. Before the site was found, the movement from Africa was put at about 1 million years ago.

Written By: AP
continue to source article at cbc.ca

5 COMMENTS

  1. @OP- The skull and other remains offer a glimpse of a population of pre-humansof various sizes living at the same time — something that scientists had not seen before for such an ancient era. This diversity bolsters one of two competing theories about the way our early ancestors evolved, spreading out more like a tree than a bush.

    This has more to do with the definition of “species”, than totally new ideas.

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/08/malapa-fossils/lineage-graphic#close-modal

    The concept of separate species , hinges on intermediates dying out, or branches being geographically separated.

  2. Hear, hear, Alan4discussion. Species are a product of the discontinuous human mind (see Dawkins’s “The Ancestors’ Tale” for full discussion). And it has always struck me that there are few areas more ripe for individuals wanting to split up biology into separate species than the folk who turn up early hominid remains. A bit of “lumping”, as in the Science paper, is a welcome return to sanity.

    • In reply to #2 by FrankMill:

      Species are a product of the discontinuous human mind (see Dawkins’s “The Ancestors’ Tale” for full discussion). And it has always struck me that there are few areas more ripe for individuals wanting to split up biology into separate species than the folk who turn up early hominid remains.

      Reminds me of something a professor of mine once said, that new species continually turn up because a graduate student needed a thesis. =)

  3. Does this mean there is no Rudolfensis or Ergaster any more ? Just Habilus walking out of Africa evolving into
    Erectus in Asia ?…or did Erectus evolve before Habilus left Africa ?

    Is it possible that Antecessor could be Erectus from Asia – Eurasia or is he definitely from Africa ? It’s thought that Antecessor is more Rudolfensis like …..do they mean Habilus like ?

    I guess trying to make a pattern is difficult until you know you have all the pieces – I’ve read so many different changing theories on the subject of human origins and frustratingly but understandably the goalposts have to be able to change as more is discovered….we tend to over complicate our assumptions when in reality the actual answer is usually a much simpler solution….

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