Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Early Homo- One Species Or Many?

A paper analyzing the variation in morphology in early Homo fossils from Dmanisi Georgia dated to about 1.8 million years ago and further encompassing East African samples too has created quite a stir. The authors conclude that the range and pattern of variability in the samples suggest that all these early Homo fossils - previously named as Homo habilus, Homo erectus, Homo rudolfensis - represent one variable species. Early Homo did not branch off into new species, rather it is one lineage.

If you want to go beyond the more sensationalistic reporting of how this changes "everything" read these two posts-

1) John Hawks - A perspective on the single species hypothesis for early Homo and what it might be really telling us about evolution, migration patterns and population characteristics of our ancestors.

2) Adam Van Arsdale- What the Dmanisi sample tell us about variation in species and how best to interpret it in the fossil record.

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