lunes, 24 de abril de 2017

A famous “ancestor” may be ousted from the human family

This skull may have grown up to look more like an australopithecine than a human-like member of our genus Homo. Brett Eloff/Courtesy Profberger and Wits University
A remarkably complete skeleton that was introduced in 2010 as “the best candidate” for the immediate ancestor of our genus Homo may just be a pretender. Instead of belonging to the human lineage, the new species of Australopithecus sediba is more closely related to other hominins from South Africa that are on a side branch of the human family tree, according to a new analysis of the fossil presented here last week at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

When fossils from several individuals’ skeletons were found in a collapsed cave in Malapa, South Africa in 2008, their discoverer, paleoanthropologist Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand, noted that they helped fill a key gap in the fossil record 2 million to 3 million years ago when some upright-walking australopithecine evolved into the earliest member of our genus, Homo. [...] Science | AAAS

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