jueves, 30 de junio de 2016

Newfound Human Species Suggests Africa Was Evolutionary Melting Pot

The skull of Homo naledi. Credit: John Hawks, Wits University

The most recently discovered extinct human species may have lived less than 1 million years ago, researchers have discovered.

This finding suggests that a diverse range of human species might have lived at the same time in Africa, just as they might have in Asia, researchers said.

In 2015, scientists reported South African fossils of a hitherto-unknown relative of modern humans that possessed an unusual mix of features, such as feet adapted for a life on the ground but hands suited for a life in the trees. The fossil's discoverers named the species Homo naledi, and noted that although the early human had a brain about the size of an orange, these humans may have performed ritual burials of their dead.

Frustratingly, the age of H. naledi remains unknown. "This has been one of the biggest points of consternation for other researchers," said study co-author Mark Collard, a biological anthropologist at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. [...] livescience.com

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