martes, 29 de abril de 2014

Dmanisi 'single species' claim draws critics

Figure 2 from Schwartz et al. 2014. Original caption: Array of specimens commonly deemed H. erectus.

Last week Science printed an exchange of technical comments on the topic of the Dmanisi skull 5. The skull was described in a paper last fall (Lordkipanidze et al. 2013). The skull is beautiful and provides an almost-unprecedented look at undistorted and unreconstructed cranial form.

Now, Jeffrey Schwartz, Ian Tattersall and Zhang Chi (2014) have challenged the interpretation of the Dmanisi sample. The most provocative aspect of Lordkipanidze and colleagues' 2013 paper was its argument that the variation within Early Pleistocene Homo should all be collapsed into a single species, Homo erectus. Schwartz and colleagues think this is wrong. Instead, they think that Skull 5 represents a different species within the Dmanisi sample. Zollikofer and colleagues (2014) provide a response, pointing out that Schwartz and coworkers here and elsewhere have argued that the five Dmanisi skulls represent as many as four different species. [...]

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