Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dmanisi Finds Call for Radical Re-think of Human Speciation

Shown right: Skull 5, archaic human face dates to 1.8 million years
Credit: Guram Bumbiashvili, Georgian National Museum

Skull 5, from a partially excavated site at Dmanisi, Georgia, is the world’s first complete adult skull found from the Early Pleistocene period, according to the study’s authors. The skull’s cranium and jaw bone were found five years apart, about six feet from each other, but researchers are confident they came from the same individual. The skull has a mosaic of both primitive and more evolved features, such as a small braincase and long face, not previously seen together in the fossil record.

Researchers found additional remains associated with Skull 5 that suggest the individual had a stature and limb-to-body proportions within the range of modern humans. The researchers believe that Skull 5, based on its massive size, was likely a male. Their analysis also found that the individual had suffered a fractured cheekbone in life as well as arthritis......

The latest skull to appear from the rocks at Dmanisi
Photograph courtesy Georgian National Museum

As excavations at Dmanisi continue, researchers expect to find more fossils — and perhaps more conclusive proof that normal variation within a single Homo species has been misinterpreted as species diversity. It might be time to rewrite the evolutionary history books.

Read it all here.

I have maintained consistently that a small brain, such as found with the Australopithecus afarensis, does not indicate lack of the complex reasoning characteristic of humans.

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