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Sample records for homo erectus fossils

  1. Homo erectus in Salkhit, Mongolia?

    PubMed

    Lee, Sang-Hee

    2015-08-01

    In 2006, a skullcap was discovered in Salkhit, Mongolia. The Salkhit skullcap has a mostly complete frontal, two partially complete parietals, and nasals. No chronometric dating has been published yet, and suggested dates range from early Middle Pleistocene to terminal Late Pleistocene. While no chronometric date has been published, the presence of archaic features has led to a potential affiliation with archaic hominin species. If it is indeed Homo erectus or archaic Homo sapiens, Salkhit implies a much earlier spread of hominins farther north and inland Asia than previously thought. In this paper, the nature of the archaic features in Salkhit is investigated. The Salkhit skullcap morphology and metrics were compared with Middle and Late Pleistocene hominin fossils from northeast Asia: Zhoukoudian Locality 1, Dali, and Zhoukoudian Upper Cave. Results show an interesting pattern: on one hand, the archaic features that Salkhit shares with the Zhoukoudian Locality 1 sample also are shared with other later hominins; on the other hand, Salkhit is different from the Middle Pleistocene materials in the same way later hominins differ from the Middle Pleistocene sample, in having a broader frontal and thinner supraorbital region. This may reflect encephalization and gracilization, a modernization trend found in many places. It is concluded that the archaic features observed in Salkhit are regionally predominant features rather than diagnostic features of an archaic species. PMID:25813423

  2. New magnetostratigraphic dates of Lantian Homo erectus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhisheng, An; Kun, Ho Chuan

    1989-09-01

    Skeletal remains of Homo erectus found in Pleistocene loess at two sites near Lantian in central China are of greatly different geologic age. The cranium found in the fossil-bearing strata at Gongwangling is about 1.15 myr old whereas the remains found at the Chenjiawo locality in middle Pleistocene loess are about 0.65 myr old. The dating is based on new paleomagnetic polarity determinations and on the lithostratigraphic position of the fossils in the loess-paleosol sequence. Our results confirm that both localities are older than the first occupation of Zhoukoudian. New dates, palaeoenvironmental settings, and morphological features of the hominids from Lantian localities have significant bearing on the understanding of adaptive radiations of the middle and late hominids in Asia.

  3. The larger mammal fossil assemblage from JK2, Bed III, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania: implications for the feeding behavior of Homo erectus.

    PubMed

    Pante, Michael C

    2013-01-01

    Little is known about the type and amount of animal proteins consumed by Homo erectus, a species distinguished from its predecessors by more human-like brain and body proportions and its association with more advanced stone tool technology. Here I present an interpretation of the feeding behavior of African H. erectus based upon the first taphonomic analysis of the larger mammal fossil assemblage from the JK2 site, Bed III, Olduvai Gorge. Results indicate that both hominins and carnivores consumed some flesh and bone marrow at the site. A low incidence of percussion marking suggests hominins did not break all long bones in the assemblage. Relatively high carnivore tooth mark frequencies and low cut mark frequencies independently suggest that both hominins and carnivores had access to flesh, while specimens that are both tooth- and butchery-marked demonstrate occasional hominin and carnivore feeding from the same carcass. Together, the bone surface modification data suggest a mixed and possibly time-averaged taphonomic history for the assemblage with at least some carcasses accessed by hominins early in the consumption sequence and others only by carnivores. The results for the JK2 assemblage contribute to a growing literature concerning the feeding behavior of African H. erectus, a species that appears to have relied on carcass foods to meet some of the nutritional demands of its larger brain and body size. PMID:23273772

  4. The role of neurocranial shape in defining the boundaries of an expanded Homo erectus hypodigm.

    PubMed

    Baab, Karen L

    2016-03-01

    The main goals of this study were to evaluate the distinctiveness of Homo erectus neurocranial shape relative to other closely related species, and assess the likelihood that particular fossils were correctly attributed to H. erectus given how shape variation related to geography, time and brain size. This was accomplished through analyses of several sets of landmarks designed to maximize the fossil sample, including 24 putative H. erectus fossils. The question of taxonomic differentiation was initially assessed for the type specimen (Trinil II) and morphologically similar Sangiran fossils and subsequently for increasingly inclusive definitions of H. erectus. Results indicated that H. erectus fossils from China, Indonesia, Georgia and East Africa shared a neurocranial shape that was distinct from that of other Plio-Pleistocene Homo taxa, a pattern only partially accounted for by brain size. Early Indonesian H. erectus formed a morphological "bridge" between earlier and later populations assigned to H. erectus from Africa and Asia, respectively. These results were combined with discrete characters to create a more complete species definition for H. erectus. There were two notable exceptions to the general pattern of H. erectus uniqueness. The 0.8-1.0 Ma (millions of years ago) Daka calvaria from Ethiopia consistently grouped with mid-Pleistocene Homo, including Bodo and Kabwe, rather than African or Asian H. erectus. In addition, Daka also exhibited several traits derived for mid-Pleistocene Homo, and its scaling pattern mirrored mid-Pleistocene Homo rather than H. erectus. Daka may have belonged to an "advanced" H. erectus population close to the root of Homo heidelbergensis sensu lato (s.l.), or to an early population of H. heidelbergensis s.l.. The 1.5 Ma KNM-ER 42700 specimen from Kenya exhibited a unique calvarial shape distinct from H. erectus despite the exclusion of problematic landmarks from the frontal bone. These unique aspects of shape were not present

  5. The taxonomic implications of cranial shape variation in Homo erectus.

    PubMed

    Baab, Karen L

    2008-06-01

    The taxonomic status of Homo erectus sensu lato has been a source of debate since the early 1980s, when a series of publications suggested that the early African fossils may represent a separate species, H. ergaster. To gain further resolution regarding this debate, 3D geometric morphometric data were used to quantify overall shape variation in the cranial vault within H. erectus using a new metric, the sum of squared pairwise Procrustes distances (SSD). Bootstrapping methods were used to compare the H. erectus SSD to a broad range of human and nonhuman primate samples in order to ascertain whether variation in H. erectus most clearly resembles that seen in one or more species. The reference taxa included relevant phylogenetic, ecological, and temporal analogs including humans, apes, and both extant and extinct papionin monkeys. The mean cranial shapes of different temporogeographic subsets of H. erectus fossils were then tested for significance using exact randomization tests and compared to the distances between regional groups of modern humans and subspecies/species of the ape and papionin monkey taxa. To gauge the influence of sexual dimorphism on levels of variation, comparisons were also made between the mean cranial shapes of single-sex samples for the reference taxa. Results indicate that variation in H. erectus is most comparable to single species of papionin monkeys and the genus Pan, which included two species. However, H. erectus encompasses a limited range of variation given its extensive geographic and temporal range, leading to the conclusion that only one species should be recognized. In addition, there are significant differences between the African/Georgian and Asian H. erectus samples, but not between H. ergaster (Georgia+Africa, excluding OH 9 and Daka) and H. erectus sensu stricto. This finding is in line with expectations for intraspecific variation in a long-lived species with a wide, but probably discontinuous, geographic distribution. PMID

  6. Remains of Homo erectus from Bouri, Middle Awash, Ethiopia.

    PubMed

    Asfaw, Berhane; Gilbert, W Henry; Beyene, Yonas; Hart, William K; Renne, Paul R; WoldeGabriel, Giday; Vrba, Elisabeth S; White, Tim D

    2002-03-21

    The genesis, evolution and fate of Homo erectus have been explored palaeontologically since the taxon's recognition in the late nineteenth century. Current debate is focused on whether early representatives from Kenya and Georgia should be classified as a separate ancestral species ('H. ergaster'), and whether H. erectus was an exclusively Asian species lineage that went extinct. Lack of resolution of these issues has obscured the place of H. erectus in human evolution. A hominid calvaria and postcranial remains recently recovered from the Dakanihylo Member of the Bouri Formation, Middle Awash, Ethiopia, bear directly on these issues. These approximately 1.0-million-year (Myr)-old Pleistocene sediments contain abundant early Acheulean stone tools and a diverse vertebrate fauna that indicates a predominantly savannah environment. Here we report that the 'Daka' calvaria's metric and morphological attributes centre it firmly within H. erectus. Daka's resemblance to Asian counterparts indicates that the early African and Eurasian fossil hominids represent demes of a widespread palaeospecies. Daka's anatomical intermediacy between earlier and later African fossils provides evidence of evolutionary change. Its temporal and geographic position indicates that African H. erectus was the ancestor of Homo sapiens. PMID:11907576

  7. Latest Homo erectus of Java: potential contemporaneity with Homo sapiens in southeast Asia.

    PubMed

    Swisher, C C; Rink, W J; Antón, S C; Schwarcz, H P; Curtis, G H; Suprijo, A; Widiasmoro

    1996-12-13

    Hominid fossils from Ngandong and Sambungmacan, Central Java, are considered the most morphologically advanced representatives of Homo erectus. Electron spin resonance (ESR) and mass spectrometric U-series dating of fossil bovid teeth collected from the hominid-bearing levels at these sites gave mean ages of 27 +/- 2 to 53.3 +/- 4 thousand years ago; the range in ages reflects uncertainties in uranium migration histories. These ages are 20,000 to 400,000 years younger than previous age estimates for these hominids and indicate that H. erectus may have survived on Java at least 250,000 years longer than on the Asian mainland, and perhaps 1 million years longer than in Africa. The new ages raise the possibility that H. erectus overlapped in time with anatomically modern humans (H. sapiens) in Southeast Asia. PMID:8943192

  8. Femoral/humeral strength in early African Homo erectus.

    PubMed

    Ruff, Christopher

    2008-03-01

    Lower-to-upper limb-bone proportions give valuable clues to locomotor behavior in fossil taxa. However, to date only external linear dimensions have been included in such analyses of early hominins. In this study, cross-sectional measures of femoral and humeral diaphyseal strength are determined for the two most complete early Homo erectus (or ergaster) associated skeletons--the juvenile KNM-WT 15000 and the adult KNM-ER 1808. Modern comparative samples include an adult human skeletal sample representative of diverse body shapes, a human longitudinal growth series, and an adult chimpanzee sample. When compared to appropriately age-matched samples, both H. erectus specimens fall very close to modern human mean proportions and far from chimpanzee proportions (which do not overlap with those of humans). This implies very similar mechanical load-sharing between the lower and upper limbs, and by implication, similar locomotor behavior in early H. erectus and modern humans. Thus, by the earliest Pleistocene (1.7 Ma), completely modern patterns of bipedal behavior were fully established in at least one early hominin taxon. PMID:17977577

  9. Energetic consequences of being a Homo erectus female.

    PubMed

    Aiello, Leslie C; Key, Cathy

    2002-01-01

    Body size is one of the most important characteristics of any animal because it affects a range of behavioral, ecological, and physiological traits including energy requirements, choice of food, reproductive strategies, predation risk, range size, and locomotor style. This article focuses on the implications of being large bodied for Homo erectus females, estimated to have been over 50% heavier than average australopithecine females. The energy requirements of these hominins are modeled using data on activity patterns, body mass, and life history from living primates. Particular attention is given to the inferred energetic costs of reproduction for Homo erectus females based on chimpanzee and human reproductive scheduling. Daily energy requirements during gestation and lactation would have been significantly higher for Homo erectus females, as would total energetic cost per offspring if the australopithecines and Homo erectus had similar reproductive schedules (gestation and lactation lengths and interbirth intervals). Shortening the interbirth interval could considerably reduce the costs per offspring to Homo erectus and have the added advantage of increasing reproductive output. The mother would, however, incur additional daily costs of caring for the dependent offspring. If Homo erectus females adopted this reproductive strategy, it would necessarily imply a revolution in the way in which females obtained and utilized energy to support their increased energetic requirements. This transformation is likely to have occurred on several levels involving cooperative economic division of labor, locomotor energetics, menopause, organ size, and other physiological mechanisms for reducing the energetic load on females. PMID:12203811

  10. Thickened cranial vault and parasagittal keeling: correlated traits and autapomorphies of Homo erectus?

    PubMed

    Balzeau, Antoine

    2013-06-01

    Homo erectus sensu lato (s.l.) is a key species in the hominin fossil record for the study of human evolution, being one of the first species discovered and perhaps the most documented, but also because of its long temporal range and having dispersed out of Africa earlier than any other human species. Here I test two proposed autapomorphic traits of H. erectus, namely the increased thickness of the upper cranial vault and parasagittal keeling. The definition of these two anatomical features and their expression and variation among hominids are discussed. The results of this study indicate that the upper vault in Asian H. erectus is not absolutely thicker compared with fossil anatomically modern Homo sapiens, whereas Broken Hill and Petralona have values above the range of variation of H. erectus. Moreover, this anatomical region in Asian H. erectus is not significantly thicker compared with Pan paniscus. In addition, these results demonstrate that cranial vault thickness should not be used to make hypotheses regarding sexual attribution of fossil hominin specimens. I also show that the relation between relief on the external surface of the upper vault, parasagittal keeling and bregmatic eminence, and bone thickness is complex. In this context, the autapomorphic status of the two analysed traits in H. erectus may be rejected. Nevertheless, different patterns in the distribution of bone thickness on the upper vault were identified. Some individual variations are visible, but specificities are observable in samples of different species. The pattern of bone thickness distribution observed in Asian H. erectus, P. paniscus, possibly australopiths, and early Homo or Homo ergaster/erectus appears to be shared by these different species and would be a plesiomorphic trait among hominids. In contrast, two apomorphic states for this feature were identified for Neandertals and H. sapiens. PMID:23541383

  11. New 1.5 million-year-old Homo erectus maxilla from Sangiran (Central Java, Indonesia).

    PubMed

    Zaim, Yahdi; Ciochon, Russell L; Polanski, Joshua M; Grine, Frederick E; Bettis, E Arthur; Rizal, Yan; Franciscus, Robert G; Larick, Roy R; Heizler, Matthew; Aswan; Eaves, K Lindsay; Marsh, Hannah E

    2011-10-01

    Sangiran (Solo Basin, Central Java, Indonesia) is the singular Homo erectus fossil locale for Early Pleistocene Southeast Asia. Sangiran is the source for more than 80 specimens in deposits with (40)Ar/(39)Ar ages of 1.51-0.9 Ma. In April 2001, we recovered a H. erectus left maxilla fragment (preserving P(3)- M(2)) from the Sangiran site of Bapang. The find spot lies at the base of the Bapang Formation type section in cemented gravelly sands traditionally called the Grenzbank Zone. Two meters above the find spot, pumice hornblende has produced an (40)Ar/(39)Ar age of 1.51 ± 0.08 Ma. With the addition of Bpg 2001.04, Sangiran now has five H. erectus maxillae. We compare the new maxilla with homologs representing Sangiran H. erectus, Zhoukoudian H. erectus, Western H. erectus (pooled African and Georgian specimens), and Homo habilis. Greatest contrast is with the Zhoukoudian maxillae, which appear to exhibit a derived pattern of premolar-molar relationships compared to Western and Sangiran H. erectus. The dental patterns suggest distinct demic origins for the earlier H. erectus populations represented at Sangiran and the later population represented at Zhoukoudian. These two east Asian populations, separated by 5000 km and nearly 800 k.yr., may have had separate origins from different African/west Eurasian populations. PMID:21783226

  12. Morphological variation in Homo erectus and the origins of developmental plasticity.

    PubMed

    Antón, Susan C; Taboada, Hannah G; Middleton, Emily R; Rainwater, Christopher W; Taylor, Andrea B; Turner, Trudy R; Turnquist, Jean E; Weinstein, Karen J; Williams, Scott A

    2016-07-01

    Homo erectus was the first hominin to exhibit extensive range expansion. This extraordinary departure from Africa, especially into more temperate climates of Eurasia, has been variously related to technological, energetic and foraging shifts. The temporal and regional anatomical variation in H. erectus suggests that a high level of developmental plasticity, a key factor in the ability of H. sapiens to occupy a variety of habitats, may also have been present in H. erectus. Developmental plasticity, the ability to modify development in response to environmental conditions, results in differences in size, shape and dimorphism across populations that relate in part to levels of resource sufficiency and extrinsic mortality. These differences predict not only regional variations but also overall smaller adult sizes and lower levels of dimorphism in instances of resource scarcity and high predator load. We consider the metric variation in 35 human and non-human primate 'populations' from known environmental contexts and 14 time- and space-restricted paleodemes of H. erectus and other fossil Homo Human and non-human primates exhibit more similar patterns of variation than expected, with plasticity evident, but in differing patterns by sex across populations. The fossil samples show less evidence of variation than expected, although H. erectus varies more than Neandertals.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. PMID:27298467

  13. Variation and diversity in Homo erectus: a 3D geometric morphometric analysis of the temporal bone.

    PubMed

    Terhune, Claire E; Kimbel, William H; Lockwood, Charles A

    2007-07-01

    Although the level of taxonomic diversity within the fossil hominin species Homo erectus (sensu lato) is continually debated, there have been relatively few studies aiming to quantify the morphology of this species. Instead, most researchers have relied on qualitative descriptions or the evaluation of nonmetric characters, which in many cases display continuous variation. Also, only a few studies have used quantitative data to formally test hypotheses regarding the taxonomic composition of the "erectus" hypodigm. Despite these previous analyses, however, and perhaps in part due to these varied approaches for assessing variation within specimens typically referred to H. erectus (sensu lato) and the general lack of rigorous statistical testing of how variation within this taxon is partitioned, there is currently little consensus regarding whether this group is a single species, or whether it should instead be split into separate temporal or geographically delimited taxa. In order to evaluate possible explanations for variation within H. erectus, we tested the general hypothesis that variation within the temporal bone morphology of H. erectus is consistent with that of a single species, using great apes and humans as comparative taxa. Eighteen three-dimensional (3D) landmarks of the temporal bone were digitized on a total of 520 extant and fossil hominid crania. Landmarks were registered by Generalized Procrustes Analysis, and Procrustes distances were calculated for comparisons of individuals within and between the extant taxa. Distances between fossil specimens and between a priori groupings of fossils were then compared to the distances calculated within the extant taxa to assess the variation within the H. erectus sample relative to that of known species, subspecies, and populations. Results of these analyses indicate that shape variation within the entire H. erectus sample is generally higher than extant hominid intraspecific variation, and putative H. ergaster

  14. Mapping and taphonomic analysis of the Homo erectus loci at Locality 1 Zhoukoudian, China.

    PubMed

    Boaz, Noel T; Ciochon, Russell L; Xu, Qinqi; Liu, Jinyi

    2004-05-01

    From a detailed analysis of published and unpublished sources, we constructed a digitized three-dimensional, stratigraphically-controlled excavation grid of Zhoukoudian Locality 1 in order to assess the spatial relationships of the excavated materials. All 15 fossil Homo erectus loci were mapped on the grid. Meter cubes were used in excavation starting in 1934, and Loci H through O, established between 1934 and 1937, were mapped to within 1 m(3)vertical and horizontal provenience. Loci A through G, established between 1921 and 1933, were excavated in the northernmost part of Locality 1 by unmapped quarrying, but their stratigraphic levels were recorded. We could localize Loci A through G on the grid system by utilizing locations of remaining walls, stratigraphic sections, excavation reports, excavation maps, and photographs. Loci contained skeletal elements of Homo erectus individuals scattered over areas of the cave floor of up to 9 m in diameter. Scoring of taphonomic damage on the Homo erectus sample, as observed on casts and originals, demonstrates that 67% of the hominid sample shows bite marks or other modifications ascribed to large mammalian carnivores, particularly the large Pleistocene cave hyena, Pachycrocuta brevirostris. Virtually all of the remaining Homo erectus skeletal assemblage shows breakage consistent with this taphonomic pattern of fragmentation. Bioturbation by digging carnivores is the most likely explanation for a fragment of Homo erectus Skull XI discovered 1 m below its other conjoined portions in Locus L. Carbon on all the Homo erectus fossils from Locus G, a circumscribed area of 1-meter diameter, earlier taken to indicate burning, cooking, and cannibalism, is here interpreted as detrital carbon deposited under water, perhaps the result of hyaenid caching behavior. Locus G records the close stratigraphic and horizontal association of stone artifacts with Homo erectus and other vertebrate skeletal elements, an association that is seen at

  15. Taxonomic differences in deciduous upper second molar crown outlines of Homo sapiens, Homo neanderthalensis and Homo erectus.

    PubMed

    Bailey, Shara E; Benazzi, Stefano; Souday, Caroline; Astorino, Claudia; Paul, Kathleen; Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2014-07-01

    A significant number of Middle to Late Pleistocene sites contain primarily (and sometimes only) deciduous teeth (e.g., Grotta del Cavallo, Mezmaiskaya, Blombos). Not surprisingly, there has been a recent renewed interest in deciduous dental variation, especially in the context of distinguishing Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens. Most studies of the deciduous dentition of fossil hominins have focused on standard metrical variation but morphological (non-metric and morphometric) variation also promises to shed light on long standing taxonomic questions. This study examines the taxonomic significance of the crown outline of the deciduous upper second molar through principal components analysis and linear discriminant analysis. We examine whether or not the crown shape of the upper deciduous second molar separates H. neanderthalensis from H. sapiens and explore whether it can be used to correctly assign individuals to taxa. It builds on previous studies by focusing on crown rather than cervical outline and by including a large sample of geographically diverse recent human populations. Our samples include 17 H. neanderthalensis, five early H. sapiens, and 12 Upper Paleolithic H. sapiens. In addition, we include two Homo erectus specimens in order to evaluate the polarity of crown shape differences observed between H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens. Our results show that crown outline shape discriminates H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis quite well, but does not do well at distinguishing H. erectus from H. sapiens. We conclude that the crown outline shape observed in H. sapiens is a primitive retention and that the skewed shape observed in H. neanderthalensis is a derived condition. Finally, we explore the phylogenetic implications of the results for the H. erectus molars. PMID:24703186

  16. Cranial vault thickness in primates: Homo erectus does not have uniquely thick vault bones.

    PubMed

    Copes, Lynn E; Kimbel, William H

    2016-01-01

    Extremely thick cranial vaults have been noted as a diagnostic characteristic of Homo erectus since the first fossil of the species was identified, but relatively little work has been done on elucidating its etiology or variation across fossils, living humans, or extant non-human primates. Cranial vault thickness (CVT) is not a monolithic trait, and the responsiveness of its layers to environmental stimuli is unknown. We obtained measurements of cranial vault thickness in fossil hominins from the literature and supplemented those data with additional measurements taken on African fossil specimens. Total CVT and the thickness of the cortical and diploë layers individually were compared to measures of CVT in extant species measured from more than 500 CT scans of human and non-human primates. Frontal and parietal CVT in fossil primates was compared to a regression of CVT on cranial capacity calculated for extant species. Even after controlling for cranial capacity, African and Asian H. erectus do not have uniquely high frontal or parietal thickness residuals, either among hominins or extant primates. Extant primates with residual CVT thickness similar to or exceeding H. erectus (depending on the sex and bone analyzed) include Nycticebus coucang, Perodicticus potto, Alouatta caraya, Lophocebus albigena, Galago alleni, Mandrillus sphinx, and Propithecus diadema. However, the especially thick vaults of extant non-human primates that overlap with H. erectus values are composed primarily of cortical bone, while H. erectus and other hominins have diploë-dominated vault bones. Thus, the combination of thick vaults comprised of a thickened diploë layer may be a reliable autapomorphy for members of the genus Homo. PMID:26767964

  17. A neonatal perspective on Homo erectus brain growth.

    PubMed

    Cofran, Zachary; DeSilva, Jeremy M

    2015-04-01

    The Mojokerto calvaria has been central to assessment of brain growth in Homo erectus, but different analytical approaches and uncertainty in the specimen's age at death have hindered consensus on the nature of H. erectus brain growth. We simulate average annual rates (AR) of absolute endocranial volume (ECV) growth and proportional size change (PSC) in H. erectus, utilizing estimates of H. erectus neonatal ECV and a range of ages for Mojokerto. These values are compared with resampled ARs and PSCs from ontogenetic series of humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas from birth to six years. Results are consistent with other studies of ECV growth in extant taxa. There is extensive overlap in PSC between all living species through the first postnatal year, with continued but lesser overlap between humans and chimpanzees to age six. Human ARs are elevated above those of apes, although there is modest overlap up to 0.50 years. Ape ARs overlap throughout the sequence, with gorillas slightly elevated over chimpanzees up to 0.50 years. Simulated H. erectus PSCs can be found in all living species by 0.50 years, and the median falls below the human and chimpanzee ranges after 2.5 years. H. erectus ARs are elevated above those of all extant taxa prior to 0.50 years, and after two years they fall out of the human range but are still above ape ranges. A review of evidence for the age at death of Mojokerto supports an estimate of around one year, indicating absolute brain growth rates in the lower half of the human range. These results point to secondary altriciality in H. erectus, implying that key human adaptations for increasing the energy budget of females may have been established by at least 1 Ma. PMID:25771994

  18. Human taxonomic diversity in the pleistocene: does Homo erectus represent multiple hominid species?

    PubMed

    Kramer, A

    1993-06-01

    Recently, nomina such as "Homo heidelbergensis" and "H. ergaster" have been resurrected to refer to fossil hominids that are perceived to be specifically distinct from Homo sapiens and Homo erectus. This results in a later human fossil record that is nearly as speciose as that documenting the earlier history of the family Hominidae. However, it is agreed that there remains only one extant hominid species: H. sapiens. Has human taxonomic diversity been significantly pruned over the last few hundred millennia, or have the number of taxa been seriously overestimated? To answer this question, the following null hypothesis is tested: polytypism was established relatively early and the species H. erectus can accommodate all spatio-temporal variation from ca. 1.7 to 0.5 Ma. A disproof of this hypothesis would suggest that modern human polytypism is a very recent phenomenon and that speciation throughout the course of human evolution was the norm and not the exception. Cranial variation in a taxonomically mixed sample of fossil hominids, and in a modern human sample, is analyzed with regard to the variation present in the fossils attributed to H. erectus. The data are examined using both univariate (coefficient of variation) and multivariate (determinant) analyses. Employing randomization methodology to offset the small size and non-normal distribution of the fossil samples, the CV and determinant results reveal a pattern and degree of variation in H. erectus that most closely approximates that of the single species H. sapiens. It is therefore concluded that the null hypothesis cannot be rejected. PMID:8317558

  19. Footprints reveal direct evidence of group behavior and locomotion in Homo erectus

    PubMed Central

    Hatala, Kevin G.; Roach, Neil T.; Ostrofsky, Kelly R.; Wunderlich, Roshna E.; Dingwall, Heather L.; Villmoare, Brian A.; Green, David J.; Harris, John W. K.; Braun, David R.; Richmond, Brian G.

    2016-01-01

    Bipedalism is a defining feature of the human lineage. Despite evidence that walking on two feet dates back 6–7 Ma, reconstructing hominin gait evolution is complicated by a sparse fossil record and challenges in inferring biomechanical patterns from isolated and fragmentary bones. Similarly, patterns of social behavior that distinguish modern humans from other living primates likely played significant roles in our evolution, but it is exceedingly difficult to understand the social behaviors of fossil hominins directly from fossil data. Footprints preserve direct records of gait biomechanics and behavior but they have been rare in the early human fossil record. Here we present analyses of an unprecedented discovery of 1.5-million-year-old footprint assemblages, produced by 20+ Homo erectus individuals. These footprints provide the oldest direct evidence for modern human-like weight transfer and confirm the presence of an energy-saving longitudinally arched foot in H. erectus. Further, print size analyses suggest that these H. erectus individuals lived and moved in cooperative multi-male groups, offering direct evidence consistent with human-like social behaviors in H. erectus. PMID:27403790

  20. Footprints reveal direct evidence of group behavior and locomotion in Homo erectus.

    PubMed

    Hatala, Kevin G; Roach, Neil T; Ostrofsky, Kelly R; Wunderlich, Roshna E; Dingwall, Heather L; Villmoare, Brian A; Green, David J; Harris, John W K; Braun, David R; Richmond, Brian G

    2016-01-01

    Bipedalism is a defining feature of the human lineage. Despite evidence that walking on two feet dates back 6-7 Ma, reconstructing hominin gait evolution is complicated by a sparse fossil record and challenges in inferring biomechanical patterns from isolated and fragmentary bones. Similarly, patterns of social behavior that distinguish modern humans from other living primates likely played significant roles in our evolution, but it is exceedingly difficult to understand the social behaviors of fossil hominins directly from fossil data. Footprints preserve direct records of gait biomechanics and behavior but they have been rare in the early human fossil record. Here we present analyses of an unprecedented discovery of 1.5-million-year-old footprint assemblages, produced by 20+ Homo erectus individuals. These footprints provide the oldest direct evidence for modern human-like weight transfer and confirm the presence of an energy-saving longitudinally arched foot in H. erectus. Further, print size analyses suggest that these H. erectus individuals lived and moved in cooperative multi-male groups, offering direct evidence consistent with human-like social behaviors in H. erectus. PMID:27403790

  1. Clavicle length, throwing performance and the reconstruction of the Homo erectus shoulder.

    PubMed

    Roach, Neil T; Richmond, Brian G

    2015-03-01

    Powerful, accurate throwing may have been an important mode of early hunting and defense. Previous work has shown that throwing performance is functionally linked to several anatomical shifts in the upper body that occurred during human evolution. The final shift to occur is the inferior reorientation of the shoulder. Fossil scapulae show the earliest evidence of a more inferior glenoid in Homo erectus. However, where the scapula rests on the thorax is uncertain. The relative length of the clavicle, the only skeletal attachment of the scapula to the torso, is quite variable. Depending on which fossils or skeletal measures are used to reconstruct the H. erectus shoulder, either a novel, anteriorly facing shoulder configuration or a modern human-like lateral orientation is possible. These competing hypotheses have led to very different conclusions regarding the throwing ability and hunting behavior of early Homo. Here, we evaluate competing models of H. erectus shoulder morphology and examine how these models relate to throwing performance. To address these questions, we collected skeletal measures from fossil and extant taxa, as well as anthropometric (N = 36) and kinematic (N = 27) data from Daasanach throwers from northwestern Kenya. Our data show that all H. erectus fossil clavicles fall within the normal range of modern human variation. We find that a commonly used metric for normalizing clavicle length, the claviculohumeral ratio, poorly predicts shoulder position on the torso. Furthermore, no significant relationship between clavicle length and any measure of throwing performance was found. These data support reconstructing the H. erectus shoulder as modern human-like, with a laterally facing glenoid, and suggest that the capacity for high speed throwing dates back nearly two million years. PMID:25439706

  2. African Homo erectus: Old radiometric ages and young Oldowan assemblages in the middle Awash Valley, Ethiopia

    SciTech Connect

    Clark, J.D.; White, T.D.; Selassie, Y.H. ); Heinzelin, J. de ); Schick, K.D. ); Hart, W.K. ); WoldeGabriel, G. ); Walter, R.C. ); Suwa, G. ); Asfaw, B. )

    1994-06-24

    Fossils and artifacts recovered from the middle Awash Valley of Ethiopia's Afar depression sample the Middle Pleistocene transition from Homo erectus to Homo sapiens. Ar/Ar ages, biostratigraphy, and tephrachronology from this area indicate that the Pleistocene Bodo hominid cranium and newer specimens are approximately 0.6 million years old. Only Oldowan chopper and flake assemblages are present in the lower stratigraphic units but Acheulean bifacial artifacts are consistently prevalent and widespread in directly overlying deposits. This technological transition is related to a shift in sedimentary regime, supporting the hypothesis that Middle Pleistocene Oldowan assemblages represent a behavioral facies of the Acheulean industrial complex.

  3. Homo erectus at Trinil on Java used shells for tool production and engraving.

    PubMed

    Joordens, Josephine C A; d'Errico, Francesco; Wesselingh, Frank P; Munro, Stephen; de Vos, John; Wallinga, Jakob; Ankjærgaard, Christina; Reimann, Tony; Wijbrans, Jan R; Kuiper, Klaudia F; Mücher, Herman J; Coqueugniot, Hélène; Prié, Vincent; Joosten, Ineke; van Os, Bertil; Schulp, Anne S; Panuel, Michel; van der Haas, Victoria; Lustenhouwer, Wim; Reijmer, John J G; Roebroeks, Wil

    2015-02-12

    The manufacture of geometric engravings is generally interpreted as indicative of modern cognition and behaviour. Key questions in the debate on the origin of such behaviour are whether this innovation is restricted to Homo sapiens, and whether it has a uniquely African origin. Here we report on a fossil freshwater shell assemblage from the Hauptknochenschicht ('main bone layer') of Trinil (Java, Indonesia), the type locality of Homo erectus discovered by Eugène Dubois in 1891 (refs 2 and 3). In the Dubois collection (in the Naturalis museum, Leiden, The Netherlands) we found evidence for freshwater shellfish consumption by hominins, one unambiguous shell tool, and a shell with a geometric engraving. We dated sediment contained in the shells with (40)Ar/(39)Ar and luminescence dating methods, obtaining a maximum age of 0.54 ± 0.10 million years and a minimum age of 0.43 ± 0.05 million years. This implies that the Trinil Hauptknochenschicht is younger than previously estimated. Together, our data indicate that the engraving was made by Homo erectus, and that it is considerably older than the oldest geometric engravings described so far. Although it is at present not possible to assess the function or meaning of the engraved shell, this discovery suggests that engraving abstract patterns was in the realm of Asian Homo erectus cognition and neuromotor control. PMID:25470048

  4. Molar crown inner structural organization in Javanese Homo erectus.

    PubMed

    Zanolli, Clément

    2015-01-01

    This contribution investigates the inner organizational pattern (tooth tissue proportions and enamel-dentine junction morphology) of seven Homo erectus permanent molar crowns from the late Lower-early Middle Pleistocene Kabuh Formation of the Sangiran Dome (Central Java, Indonesia). The previous study of their external characteristics confirmed the degree of time-related structural reduction occurred in Javanese H. erectus, and also revealed a combination of nonmetric features which are rare in the Lower and early Middle Pleistocene dental record, but more frequently found in recent humans. In accordance with their outer occlusal morphology, the specimens exhibit a set of derived internal features, such as thick to hyperthick enamel, an incomplete expression of the crest patterns at the enamel-dentine junction (EDJ) level, a sharp EDJ topography. As a whole, these features differ from those expressed in some penecontemporaneous specimens/samples representing African H. erectus/ergaster and H. heidelbergensis, as well as in Neanderthals, but occur in recent human populations. Further research in virtual dental paleoanthropology to be developed at macroregional scale would clarify the polarity and intensity of the intermittent exchanges between continental and insular Southeast Asia around the Lower to Middle Pleistocene boundary, as well as should shed light on the still poorly understood longitudinal evolutionary dynamics across continental Asia. PMID:25209431

  5. Paleoanthropology: Homo erectus and the limits of a paleontological species.

    PubMed

    Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2014-01-20

    The bushy nature of the human evolutionary tree in the past 3 million years is widely accepted. Yet, a spectacular new fossil of early Homo has prompted some paleoanthropologists to prune our family tree. PMID:24456983

  6. The Sambungmacan 3 Homo erectus calvaria: a comparative morphometric and morphological analysis.

    PubMed

    Delson, E; Harvati, K; Reddy, D; Marcus, L F; Mowbray, K; Sawyer, G J; Jacob, T; Márquez, S

    2001-04-01

    The Sambungmacan (Sm) 3 calvaria, discovered on Java in 1977, was illegally removed from Indonesia in 1998 and appeared in New York City in early 1999 at the Maxilla & Mandible, Ltd. natural history shop. Here we undertake an analysis of its phylogenetic and systematic position using geometric morphometrics and comparative morphology. The coordinates of points in the sagittal plane from glabella to opisthion were resampled to yield "lines" of 50 semi-landmarks. Coordinates of glabella, bregma, lambda, inion, and opisthion were also collected and analyzed separately. Casts of Homo erectus fossils from Indonesia, China, and Kenya and of "archaic H. sapiens" from Kabwe and Petralona, as well as 10 modern human crania, were used as the primary comparative sample. The modern humans were well separated from the fossils in a graphical superimposition of Procrustes-aligned semi-landmarks as well as in principal component and canonical discriminant analyses. In all of these, Sm 3 falls intermediate between the fossil and modern groups. Morphological comparisons of Sm 3 with a selection of Homo erectus fossils revealed its greatest similarity to specimens from Ngandong and the Sm 1 calvaria. Compared to all other H. erectus, Sm 3 was distinctive in its more vertical supratoral plane, less anteriorly projecting glabella and less sharply angled occiput. In these features it was somewhat similar to modern humans. It is not yet possible to determine if this similarity implies an evolutionary relationship or (more likely) individual or local populational variation. Several features of Sm 3 (small size, gracile supraorbital torus and lack of angular torus, and position in principal component analysis) suggest that it was a female. The use of geometric morphometrics provides a means to statistically test the shapes of such fossils in a manner not easily duplicated by other methods. The intermediate position of Sm 3 between fossil and modern samples in several different subanalyses

  7. Pleistocene footprints show intensive use of lake margin habitats by Homo erectus groups

    PubMed Central

    Roach, Neil T.; Hatala, Kevin G.; Ostrofsky, Kelly R.; Villmoare, Brian; Reeves, Jonathan S.; Du, Andrew; Braun, David R.; Harris, John W. K.; Behrensmeyer, Anna K.; Richmond, Brian G.

    2016-01-01

    Reconstructing hominin paleoecology is critical for understanding our ancestors’ diets, social organizations and interactions with other animals. Most paleoecological models lack fine-scale resolution due to fossil hominin scarcity and the time-averaged accumulation of faunal assemblages. Here we present data from 481 fossil tracks from northwestern Kenya, including 97 hominin footprints attributed to Homo erectus. These tracks are found in multiple sedimentary layers spanning approximately 20 thousand years. Taphonomic experiments show that each of these trackways represents minutes to no more than a few days in the lives of the individuals moving across these paleolandscapes. The geology and associated vertebrate fauna place these tracks in a deltaic setting, near a lakeshore bordered by open grasslands. Hominin footprints are disproportionately abundant in this lake margin environment, relative to hominin skeletal fossil frequency in the same deposits. Accounting for preservation bias, this abundance of hominin footprints indicates repeated use of lakeshore habitats by Homo erectus. Clusters of very large prints moving in the same direction further suggest these hominins traversed this lakeshore in multi-male groups. Such reliance on near water environments, and possibly aquatic-linked foods, may have influenced hominin foraging behavior and migratory routes across and out of Africa. PMID:27199261

  8. Pleistocene footprints show intensive use of lake margin habitats by Homo erectus groups.

    PubMed

    Roach, Neil T; Hatala, Kevin G; Ostrofsky, Kelly R; Villmoare, Brian; Reeves, Jonathan S; Du, Andrew; Braun, David R; Harris, John W K; Behrensmeyer, Anna K; Richmond, Brian G

    2016-01-01

    Reconstructing hominin paleoecology is critical for understanding our ancestors' diets, social organizations and interactions with other animals. Most paleoecological models lack fine-scale resolution due to fossil hominin scarcity and the time-averaged accumulation of faunal assemblages. Here we present data from 481 fossil tracks from northwestern Kenya, including 97 hominin footprints attributed to Homo erectus. These tracks are found in multiple sedimentary layers spanning approximately 20 thousand years. Taphonomic experiments show that each of these trackways represents minutes to no more than a few days in the lives of the individuals moving across these paleolandscapes. The geology and associated vertebrate fauna place these tracks in a deltaic setting, near a lakeshore bordered by open grasslands. Hominin footprints are disproportionately abundant in this lake margin environment, relative to hominin skeletal fossil frequency in the same deposits. Accounting for preservation bias, this abundance of hominin footprints indicates repeated use of lakeshore habitats by Homo erectus. Clusters of very large prints moving in the same direction further suggest these hominins traversed this lakeshore in multi-male groups. Such reliance on near water environments, and possibly aquatic-linked foods, may have influenced hominin foraging behavior and migratory routes across and out of Africa. PMID:27199261

  9. Ecospaces occupied by Homo erectus and Homo sapiens in insular Southeast Asia in the Pleistocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hertler, Christine; Haupt, Susanne; Volmer, Rebekka; Bruch, Angela

    2014-05-01

    Hominins migrated to the islands of the Sunda Shelf multiple times. At least two immigration events are evident, an early immigration of Homo erectus in the late Early Pleistocene and a second immigration of Homo sapiens during the Late Pleistocene. Regional environments changed considerably in the Pleistocene. Expansion patterns among hominins are at least co-determined by their ecologies and environmental change. We examine these expansion patterns on the basis of habitat reconstructions. Mammalian communities provide a geographically extensive record and permit to assess hominin ecospaces. Although chronological resolution is low, they represent the most complete record of habitat changes associated with hominin expansion patterns. In order to reconstruct and compare hominin ecospaces on a quantitative scale, we set up a reference sample consisting of mammalian communities of 117 national parks in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The diversity of such communities is assessed by ecological profiling of specialized herbivore taxa. Moreover, datasets on climate and vegetation correlate with the diversity structure of such specialized herbivore communities. Reconstructing the diversity structure of communities at key sites in Pleistocene Southeast Asia permits to infer features of the climatic and vegetation framework associated with different hominin taxa. Our results show that Homo erectus and Homo sapiens did not occupy similar ecospaces. The ecospace of Homo erectus is characterized by comparatively low diversity among frugivorous and folivorous taxa, while obligate grazers are part of the assemblages. Specialized herbivore communities with such a diversity structure occur at present in East Africa, while they are absent in Southeast Asia. In the reference sample, this type of ecospace corresponds to seasonal wetlands. Although Homo sapiens still inhabits this type of environment in Southeast Asia, his ecospace is wider. Homo sapiens is associated with

  10. ESR dating of tooth enamel from yunxian homo erectus site, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Tie-Mei; Yang, Quan; Hu, Yan-Qiu; Bao, Wen-Bo; Li, Tian-Yuan

    Two almost complete fossil hominid crania (EV9001 and EV9002) were found in 1989 and 1990 in Middle Pleistocene terrace deposit of Han River, Yunxian county, Hubei province, China. They are classified as Homo erectus. Nine fossil animal teeth stratigraphically associated with the skulls were selected for electron spin resonance (ESR) dating. The simple exponential function was used for determination of the accumulated dose De and its appropriateness was discussed on the base of the experimental study. The closed system assumption was checked and the early uranium uptake model was applied to age determination. A mean age value was yielded to be 581±93 ka. It deviates from the palaeomagnetic dating result of 830-870 ka. Micro-regional complete saturation of ESR signal in enamel of very high U-content may account for the underestimation of ESR ages. Nevertheless both ESR and palaeomagnetic dating results place Yunxian crania in between the Homo erectus of Lantian and Zhoukoudian, which means that Yunxian crania constitute an important link in the human evolutionary lineage of China.

  11. Dated co-occurrence of Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus from Tham Khuyen Cave, Vietnam.

    PubMed Central

    Ciochon, R; Long, V T; Larick, R; González, L; Grün, R; de Vos, J; Yonge, C; Taylor, L; Yoshida, H; Reagan, M

    1996-01-01

    Tham Khuyen Cave (Lang Son Province, northern Vietnam) is one of the more significant sites to yield fossil vertebrates in east Asia. During the mid-1960s, excavation in a suite of deposits produced important hominoid dental remains of middle Pleistocene age. We undertake more rigorous analyses of these sediments to understand the fluvial dynamics of Pleistocene cave infilling as they determine how skeletal elements accumulate within Tham Khuyen and other east Asian sites. Uranium/thorium series analysis of speleothems brackets the Pleistocene chronology for breaching, infilling, and exhuming the regional paleokarst. Clast analysis indicates sedimentary constituents, including hominoid teeth and cranial fragments accumulated from very short distances and under low fluvial energy. Electron spin resonance analysis of vertebrate tooth enamel and sediments shows that the main fossil-bearing suite (S1-S3) was deposited about 475 thousand years ago. Among the hominoid teeth excavated from S1-S3, some represent Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus blacki. Criteria are defined to differentiate these teeth from more numerous Pongo pygmaeus elements. The dated co-occurrence of Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus blacki at Tham Khuyen helps to establish the long co-existence of these two species throughout east Asia during the Early and Middle Pleistocene. Images Fig. 1 Fig. 2 PMID:8610161

  12. Dated co-occurrence of Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus from Tham Khuyen Cave, Vietnam.

    PubMed

    Ciochon, R; Long, V T; Larick, R; González, L; Grün, R; de Vos, J; Yonge, C; Taylor, L; Yoshida, H; Reagan, M

    1996-04-01

    Tham Khuyen Cave (Lang Son Province, northern Vietnam) is one of the more significant sites to yield fossil vertebrates in east Asia. During the mid-1960s, excavation in a suite of deposits produced important hominoid dental remains of middle Pleistocene age. We undertake more rigorous analyses of these sediments to understand the fluvial dynamics of Pleistocene cave infilling as they determine how skeletal elements accumulate within Tham Khuyen and other east Asian sites. Uranium/thorium series analysis of speleothems brackets the Pleistocene chronology for breaching, infilling, and exhuming the regional paleokarst. Clast analysis indicates sedimentary constituents, including hominoid teeth and cranial fragments accumulated from very short distances and under low fluvial energy. Electron spin resonance analysis of vertebrate tooth enamel and sediments shows that the main fossil-bearing suite (S1-S3) was deposited about 475 thousand years ago. Among the hominoid teeth excavated from S1-S3, some represent Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus blacki. Criteria are defined to differentiate these teeth from more numerous Pongo pygmaeus elements. The dated co-occurrence of Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus blacki at Tham Khuyen helps to establish the long co-existence of these two species throughout east Asia during the Early and Middle Pleistocene. PMID:8610161

  13. Dating the Homo erectus bearing travertine from Kocabaş (Denizli, Turkey) at at least 1.1 Ma

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lebatard, Anne-Elisabeth; Alçiçek, M. Cihat; Rochette, Pierre; Khatib, Samir; Vialet, Amélie; Boulbes, Nicolas; Bourlès, Didier L.; Demory, François; Guipert, Gaspard; Mayda, Serdar; Titov, Vadim V.; Vidal, Laurence; de Lumley, Henry

    2014-03-01

    Since its discovery within a travertine quarry, the fragmentary cranium of the only known Turkish Homo erectus, the Kocabaş hominid, has led to conflicting biochronological estimations. First estimated to be ˜500 ka old, the partial skull presents a combination of archaic and evolved features that puts it as an intermediate specimen between the Dmanisi fossils (Homo georgicus) and the Chinese Zhoukoudian skulls (Homo erectus) respectively dated to 1.8 to ˜0.8 Ma. Here we present a multidisciplinary study combining sedimentological, paleontological and paleoanthropological observations together with cosmogenic nuclide concentration and paleomagnetic measurements to provide an absolute chronological framework for the Upper fossiliferous Travertine unit where the Kocabaş hominid and fauna were discovered. The 26Al/10Be burial ages determined on pebbles from conglomeratic levels framing the Upper fossiliferous Travertine unit, which exhibits an inverse polarity, constrains its deposition to before the Cobb Mountain sub-chron, that is between 1.22 and ˜1.5 Ma. The alternative match of the normal polarity recorded above the travertine with the Jaramillo subchron (lower limit 1.07 Ma) may also be marginally compatible with cosmogenic nuclides interpretation, thus the proposed minimum age of 1.1 Ma for the end of massive travertine deposition. The actual age of the fossils is likely to be in the 1.1-1.3 Ma range. This absolute date is in close agreement with the paleoanthropological conclusions based on morphometric comparisons implying that Kocabaş hominid belongs to the Homo erectus s.l. group that includes Chinese and African fossils, and is different from Middle and Upper Pleistocene specimens. Furthermore, this date is confirmed by the large mammal assemblage, typical of the late Villafranchian. Because it attests to the antiquity of human occupation of the Anatolian Peninsula and one of the waves of settlements out of Africa, this work challenges the current

  14. Dental size reduction in Indonesian Homo erectus: Implications for the PU-198 premolar and the appearance of Homo sapiens on Java.

    PubMed

    Polanski, Joshua M; Marsh, Hannah E; Maddux, Scott D

    2016-01-01

    The recent recovery of a hominin maxillary third premolar, PU-198, within the faunal collections from Punung Cave (East Java) has led to assertions that Homo sapiens appeared on Java between 143,000 and 115,000 years ago. The taxonomic assignment of PU-198 to H. sapiens was based predominantly on the small size of the specimen, following an analysis which found little to no overlap in premolar size between Homo erectus and terminal Pleistocene/Holocene H. sapiens. Here, we re-evaluate the use of size in the taxonomic assignment of PU-198 in light of 1) new buccolingual and mesiodistal measurements taken on the fossil, 2) comparisons to a larger sample of H. erectus and H. sapiens maxillary third premolars, and 3) evidence of a diachronic trend in post-canine dental size reduction among Javan H. erectus. Our results demonstrate PU-198 to be slightly larger than previously suggested, reveal substantial overlap in premolar size between H. erectus and H. sapiens, and indicate a statistically significant reduction in premolar size between early and late Javan H. erectus. Our findings cast doubt on the assignment of PU-198 to H. sapiens, and accordingly, question the appearance of H. sapiens on Java between 143,000 and 115,000 years ago. PMID:26767959

  15. Revisiting scoliosis in the KNM-WT 15000 Homo erectus skeleton.

    PubMed

    Schiess, Regula; Boeni, Thomas; Rühli, Frank; Haeusler, Martin

    2014-02-01

    Owing to its completeness, the 1.5 million year old Nariokotome boy skeleton KNM-WT 15000 is central for understanding the skeletal biology of Homo erectus. Nevertheless, since the reported asymmetries and distortions of Nariokotome boy's axial skeleton suggest adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, possibly associated with congenital skeletal dysplasia, it is questionable whether it still can be used as a reference for H. erectus. Recently, however, the presence of skeletal dysplasia has been refuted. Here, we present a morphological and morphometric reanalysis of the assertion of idiopathic scoliosis. We demonstrate that unarticulated vertebral columns of non-scoliotic and scoliotic individuals can be distinguished based on the lateral deviation of the spinous process, lateral and sagittal wedging, vertebral body torsion, pedicle thickness asymmetry, and asymmetry of superior and inferior articular facet areas. A principal component analysis of the overall asymmetry of all seven vertebral shape variables groups KNM-WT 15000 within non-scoliotic modern humans. There is, however, an anomaly of vertebrae T1-T2 that is compatible with a short left convex curve at the uppermost thoracic region, possibly due to injury or local growth dysbalance. Asymmetries of the facet joints L3-L5 suggest a local right convex curve in the lower lumbar region that probably resulted from juvenile traumatic disc herniation. This pattern is incompatible with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis or other types of scoliosis, including congenital, neuromuscular or syndromic scoliosis. It is, however, consistent with a recent reanalysis of the rib cage that did not reveal any asymmetry. Except for these possibly trauma-related anomalies, the Nariokotome boy fossil therefore seems to belong to a normal H. erectus youth without evidence for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis or other severe pathologies of the axial skeleton. PMID:24491377

  16. New dating of the Homo erectus cranium from Lantian (Gongwangling), China.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Zhao-Yu; Dennell, Robin; Huang, Wei-Wen; Wu, Yi; Rao, Zhi-Guo; Qiu, Shi-Fan; Xie, Jiu-Bing; Liu, Wu; Fu, Shu-Qing; Han, Jiang-Wei; Zhou, Hou-Yun; Ou Yang, Ting-Ping; Li, Hua-Mei

    2015-01-01

    The Homo erectus cranium from Gongwangling, Lantian County, Shaanxi Province is the oldest fossil hominin specimen from North China. It was found in 1964 in a layer below the Jaramillo subchron and was attributed to loess (L) L15 in the Chinese loess-palaeosol sequence, with an estimated age of ca. 1.15 Ma (millions of years ago). Here, we demonstrate that there is a stratigraphical hiatus in the Gongwangling section immediately below loess 15, and the cranium in fact lies in palaeosol (S) S22 or S23, the age of which is ca. 1.54-1.65 Ma. Closely spaced palaeomagnetic sampling at two sections at Gongwangling and one at Jiacun, 10 km to the north, indicate that the fossil layer at Gongwangling and a similar fossil horizon at Jiacun were deposited shortly before a short period of normal polarity above the Olduvai subchron. This is attributed to the Gilsa Event that has been dated elsewhere to ca. 1.62 Ma. Our investigations thus demonstrate that the Gongwangling cranium is slightly older than ca. 1.62 Ma, probably ca. 1.63 Ma, and significantly older than previously supposed. This re-dating now makes Gongwangling the second oldest site outside Africa (after Dmanisi) with cranial remains, and causes substantial re-adjustment in the early fossil hominin record in Eurasia. PMID:25456822

  17. Mojokerto revisited: evidence for an intermediate pattern of brain growth in Homo erectus.

    PubMed

    O'Connell, Caitlin A; DeSilva, Jeremy M

    2013-08-01

    Brain development in Homo erectus is a subject of great interest, and the infant calvaria from Mojokerto, Indonesia, has featured prominently in these debates. Some researchers have suggested that the pattern of brain development in H. erectus resembled that of non-human apes, while others argue for a more human-like growth pattern. In this study, we retested hypotheses regarding brain ontogeny in H. erectus using new methods (resampling), and data from additional H. erectus crania. Our results reveal that humans achieve 62% (±10%) and chimpanzees 80% (±9%) of their adult endocranial volume by 0.5-1.5 years of age. Using brain mass data, humans achieve on average 65% and chimpanzees 81% of adult size by 0.5-1.5 years. When compared with adult H. erectus crania (n = 9) from Indonesian sites greater than 1.2 million years old, Mojokerto had reached ∼70% of its adult cranial capacity. Mojokerto thus falls almost directly between the average growth in humans and chimpanzees, and well within the range of both. We therefore suggest that brain development in H. erectus cannot be dichotomized as either ape-like or human-like; it was H. erectus-like. These data indicate that H. erectus may have had a unique developmental pattern that should be considered as an important step along the continuum of brain ontogeny between apes and humans. PMID:23815827

  18. An explorative multiproxy approach to characterize the ecospace of Homo erectus at Sangiran (Java, Indonesia)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hertler, Christine; Haupt, Susanne; Lüdecke, Tina; Wirkner, Mathias; Bruch, Angela

    2015-04-01

    Homo erectus inhabited the islands of the Sunda Shelf in the late Early Pleistocene. This is illustrated by an extensive record of hominid specimens stemming from a variety of sites in Java. The hominid locality Sangiran plays a crucial role in studying related environments, because the geological record at the Sangiran dome covers a stratigraphic sequence, unlike any other hominid site in Java. Although the detailed chronology of the localities in Java is still under dispute, it covers the period between the late Early and early Middle Pleistocene. Fossil evidence includes the hominin specimens proper, diverse and evolving vertebrate faunas as well as pollen profiles. We applied a multiproxy approach to analyse and reconstruct features of the Homo erectus ecospace. Preliminary results of our explorative study are introduced in this paper. Based on the pollen record, we reconstructed temperature and precipitation for the major stratigraphic units. Although resulting values are averaging over wide chronological intervals, they illustrate general climatic trends in the late Early and early Middle Pleistocene in accordance with previous studies and the MIS record. The mammalian specimens we selected for this preliminary study possess a more restricted stratigraphic provenience. Our analyses are based on a dental sample of Duboisia santeng from the Koenigswald collection (n=14). The occurrence of the taxon is restricted to 3 layers in the stratigraphy. We reconstructed body mass and inferred diet from mesowear and isotope studies. There is no significant shift in body masses of Duboisia santeng. This result is in accordance with studies from other localities in Java. However, slight shifts in the mesowear signals (mixed feeder with increasingly browsing signal) are confirmed by studies of carbon isotopes. The analysis of oxygen isotopes provides evidence for seasonality which is compared with the signals from the vegetation.

  19. First Homo erectus from Turkey and implications for migrations into temperate Eurasia.

    PubMed

    Kappelman, John; Alçiçek, Mehmet Cihat; Kazanci, Nizamettin; Schultz, Michael; Ozkul, Mehmet; Sen, Sevket

    2008-01-01

    Remains of fossil hominins from temperate regions of the Old World are rare across both time and space, but such specimens are necessary for understanding basic issues in human evolution including linkages between their adaptations and early migration patterns. We report here the remarkable circumstances surrounding the discovery of the first fossil hominin calvaria from Turkey. The specimen was found in the Denizli province of western Turkey and recovered from within a solid block of travertine stone as it was being sawed into tile-sized slabs for the commercial natural stone building market. The new specimen fills an important geographical and temporal gap and displays several anatomical features that are shared with other Middle Pleistocene hominins from both Africa and Asia attributed to Homo erectus. It also preserves an unusual pathology on the endocranial surface of the frontal bone that is consistent with a diagnosis of Leptomeningitis tuberculosa (TB), and this evidence represents the most ancient example of this disease known for a fossil human. TB is exacerbated in dark-skinned peoples living in northern latitudes by a vitamin D deficiency because of reduced levels of ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Evidence for TB in the new specimen supports the thesis that reduced UVR was one of the many climatic variables presenting an adaptive challenge to ancient hominins during their migration into the temperate regions of Europe and Asia. PMID:18067194

  20. Venturing out safely: The biogeography of Homo erectus dispersal out of Africa.

    PubMed

    Carotenuto, F; Tsikaridze, N; Rook, L; Lordkipanidze, D; Longo, Laura; Condemi, Silvana; Raia, P

    2016-06-01

    The dispersal of Homo erectus out of Africa at some 1.9 million years ago is one of the most important, crucial, and yet controversial events in human evolution. Current opinions about this episode expose the contrast between those who see H. erectus as a highly social, cooperative species seeking out new ecological opportunities to exploit, and those preferring a passive, climate driven explanation for such an event. By using geostatistics techniques and probabilistic models, we characterised the ecological context of H. erectus dispersal, from its East African origin to the colonization of Eurasia, taking into account both the presence of other large mammals and the physical characteristics of the landscape as potential factors. Our model indicated that H. erectus followed almost passively the large herbivore fauna during its dispersal. In Africa, the dispersal was statistically associated with the presence of large freshwater bodies (Rift Valley Lakes). In Eurasia, the presence of H. erectus was associated with the occurrence of geological outcrops likely yielding unconsolidated flint. During the early phase of dispersal, our model indicated that H. erectus actively avoided areas densely populated by large carnivores. This pattern weakened as H. erectus dispersed over Europe, possibly because of the decreasing presence of carnivores there plus the later acquisition of Acheulean technology. During this later phase, H. erectus was associated with limestone and shaley marl, and seems to have been selecting for high-elevation sites. While our results do not directly contradict the idea that H. erectus may have been an active hunter, they clearly point to the fact that predator avoidance may have conditioned its long-distance diffusion as it moved outside Africa. The modelled dispersal route suggests that H. erectus remained preferentially associated with low/middle latitude (i.e., comparatively warm) sites throughout its colonization history. PMID:27260171

  1. Evidence from facial morphology for similarity of Asian and African representatives of Homo erectus.

    PubMed

    Rightmire, G P

    1998-05-01

    It has been argued that Homo erectus is a species confined to Asia. Specialized characters displayed by the Indonesian and Chinese skulls are said to be absent in material from eastern Africa, and individuals from Koobi Fora and Nariokotome are now referred by some workers to H. ergaster. This second species is held to be the ancestor from which later human populations are derived. The claim for two taxa is evaluated here with special reference to the facial skeleton. Asian fossils examined include Sangiran 4 and Sangiran 17, several of the Ngandong crania, Gongwangling, and of course the material from Zhoukoudian described by Weidenreich ([1943] Palaeontol. Sin. [New Ser. D] 10:1-484). African specimens compared are KNM-ER 3733 and KNM-ER 3883 from Koobi Fora and KNM-WT 15000 from Nariokotome. Hominid 9 from Olduvai is useful only insofar as the brows and interorbital pillar are preserved. Neither detailed anatomical comparisons nor measurements bring to light any consistent patterns in facial morphology which set the African hominids apart from Asian H. erectus. Faces of the African individuals do tend to be high and less broad across the orbits. Both of the Koobi Fora crania but not KNM-WT 15000 have nasal bones that are narrow superiorly, while the piriform aperture is relatively wide. In many other characters, including contour of the supraorbital torus, glabellar prominence, nasal bridge dimensions, internasal keeling, anatomy of the nasal sill and floor, development of the canine jugum, orientation of the zygomaticoalveolar pillar, rounding of the anterolateral surface of the cheek, formation of a malar tubercle, and palatal rugosity, there is variation among individuals from localities within the major geographic provinces. Here it is not possible to identify features that are unique to either the Asian or African assemblages. Additional traits such as a forward sloping "crista nasalis," presence of a "sulcus maxillaris," a high (and massive) cheek coupled

  2. No skeletal dysplasia in the Nariokotome boy KNM-WT 15000 (Homo erectus)--a reassessment of congenital pathologies of the vertebral column.

    PubMed

    Schiess, Regula; Haeusler, Martin

    2013-03-01

    The Nariokotome boy skeleton KNM-WT 15000 is the most complete Homo erectus fossil and therefore is key for understanding human evolution. Nevertheless, since Latimer and Ohman (2001) reported on severe congenital pathology in KNM-WT 15000, it is questionable whether this skeleton can still be used as reference for Homo erectus skeletal biology. The asserted pathologies include platyspondylic and diminutive vertebrae implying a disproportionately short stature; spina bifida; condylus tertius; spinal stenosis; and scoliosis. Based on this symptom complex, the differential diagnosis of spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia tarda, an extremely rare form of skeletal dysplasia, has been proposed. Yet, our reanalysis of these pathologies shows that the shape of the KNM-WT 15000 vertebrae matches that of normal modern human adolescents. The vertebrae are not abnormally flat, show no endplate irregularities, and thus are not platyspondylic. As this is the hallmark of spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia tarda and related forms of skeletal dysplasia, the absence of platyspondyly refutes axial dysplasia and disproportionate dwarfism. Furthermore, we neither found evidence for spina bifida occulta nor manifesta, whereas the condylus tertius, a developmental anomaly of the cranial base, is not related to skeletal dysplasias. Other fossils indicate that the relatively small size of the vertebrae and the narrow spinal canal are characteristics of early hominins rather than congenital pathologies. Except for the recently described signs of traumatic lumbar disc herniation, the Nariokotome boy fossil therefore seems to belong to a normal Homo erectus youth without pathologies of the axial skeleton. PMID:23283736

  3. Homo erectus and Middle Pleistocene hominins: brain size, skull form, and species recognition.

    PubMed

    Rightmire, G Philip

    2013-09-01

    Hominins that differ from Homo erectus, the Neanderthals, and recent humans are known from Middle Pleistocene localities across the Old World. The taxonomic status of these populations has been clouded by controversy. Perhaps the most critical problem has been an incomplete understanding of variation in skull form. Here, both H. erectus and later mid-Pleistocene hominins are the focus of an investigation aimed at clarifying the relationships among brain volume, basicranial dimensions, neurocranial shape, and certain facial characters. Brain size in H. erectus averages about 950 cm(3), while in a series of Middle Pleistocene crania from Africa and Europe, volume is about 1230 cm(3). If encephalization is the primary mechanism operating in the mid-Pleistocene, then diverse aspects of cranial form cannot all be treated as independent variables. Correlation is utilized to examine the associations among measurements for more than 30 H. erectus crania that are reasonably well preserved. A similar approach is used with the Middle Pleistocene sample. Patterns of covariation are compared in order to assess integration. Next, factor analysis is applied to the H. erectus specimens in an attempt to identify modules, tightly integrated traits that can evolve independently. Studies of the variation within H. erectus are followed by direct comparisons with the Middle Pleistocene population. Discriminant functions facilitate the description of intergroup differences. Traits that vary independently from brain volume include anterior frontal broadening, lateral expansion of the parietal vault, elevation of the lambda-inion chord, and rounding of the sagittal contour of the occipital. This finding helps to resolve the problem of species recognition. Neurocranial proportions as well as characters from the cranial base and face can be incorporated into a differential diagnosis for the mid-Pleistocene sample. Evidence presented here supports arguments for speciation in the Middle

  4. Hominid mandibular corpus shape variation and its utility for recognizing species diversity within fossil Homo.

    PubMed

    Lague, Michael R; Collard, Nicole J; Richmond, Brian G; Wood, Bernard A

    2008-12-01

    Mandibular corpora are well represented in the hominin fossil record, yet few studies have rigorously assessed the utility of mandibular corpus morphology for species recognition, particularly with respect to the linear dimensions that are most commonly available. In this study, we explored the extent to which commonly preserved mandibular corpus morphology can be used to: (i) discriminate among extant hominid taxa and (ii) support species designations among fossil specimens assigned to the genus Homo. In the first part of the study, discriminant analysis was used to test for significant differences in mandibular corpus shape at different taxonomic levels (genus, species and subspecies) among extant hominid taxa (i.e. Homo, Pan, Gorilla, Pongo). In the second part of the study, we examined shape variation among fossil mandibles assigned to Homo (including H. habilis sensu stricto, H. rudolfensis, early African H. erectus/H. ergaster, late African H. erectus, Asian H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens). A novel randomization procedure designed for small samples (and using group 'distinctness values') was used to determine whether shape variation among the fossils is consistent with conventional taxonomy (or alternatively, whether a priori taxonomic groupings are completely random with respect to mandibular morphology). The randomization of 'distinctness values' was also used on the extant samples to assess the ability of the test to recognize known taxa. The discriminant analysis results demonstrated that, even for a relatively modest set of traditional mandibular corpus measurements, we can detect significant differences among extant hominids at the genus and species levels, and, in some cases, also at the subspecies level. Although the randomization of 'distinctness values' test is more conservative than discriminant analysis (based on comparisons with extant specimens), we were able to detect at least four distinct groups among the

  5. Hominid mandibular corpus shape variation and its utility for recognizing species diversity within fossil Homo

    PubMed Central

    Lague, Michael R; Collard, Nicole J; Richmond, Brian G; Wood, Bernard A

    2008-01-01

    Mandibular corpora are well represented in the hominin fossil record, yet few studies have rigorously assessed the utility of mandibular corpus morphology for species recognition, particularly with respect to the linear dimensions that are most commonly available. In this study, we explored the extent to which commonly preserved mandibular corpus morphology can be used to: (i) discriminate among extant hominid taxa and (ii) support species designations among fossil specimens assigned to the genus Homo. In the first part of the study, discriminant analysis was used to test for significant differences in mandibular corpus shape at different taxonomic levels (genus, species and subspecies) among extant hominid taxa (i.e. Homo, Pan, Gorilla, Pongo). In the second part of the study, we examined shape variation among fossil mandibles assigned to Homo(including H. habilis sensu stricto, H. rudolfensis, early African H. erectus/H. ergaster, late African H. erectus, Asian H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens). A novel randomization procedure designed for small samples (and using group ‘distinctness values’) was used to determine whether shape variation among the fossils is consistent with conventional taxonomy (or alternatively, whether a priori taxonomic groupings are completely random with respect to mandibular morphology). The randomization of ‘distinctness values’ was also used on the extant samples to assess the ability of the test to recognize known taxa. The discriminant analysis results demonstrated that, even for a relatively modest set of traditional mandibular corpus measurements, we can detect significant differences among extant hominids at the genus and species levels, and, in some cases, also at the subspecies level. Although the randomization of ‘distinctness values’ test is more conservative than discriminant analysis (based on comparisons with extant specimens), we were able to detect at least four distinct groups

  6. Implications of new early Homo fossils from Ileret, east of Lake Turkana, Kenya.

    PubMed

    Spoor, F; Leakey, M G; Gathogo, P N; Brown, F H; Antón, S C; McDougall, I; Kiarie, C; Manthi, F K; Leakey, L N

    2007-08-01

    Sites in eastern Africa have shed light on the emergence and early evolution of the genus Homo. The best known early hominin species, H. habilis and H. erectus, have often been interpreted as time-successive segments of a single anagenetic evolutionary lineage. The case for this was strengthened by the discovery of small early Pleistocene hominin crania from Dmanisi in Georgia that apparently provide evidence of morphological continuity between the two taxa. Here we describe two new cranial fossils from the Koobi Fora Formation, east of Lake Turkana in Kenya, that have bearing on the relationship between species of early Homo. A partial maxilla assigned to H. habilis reliably demonstrates that this species survived until later than previously recognized, making an anagenetic relationship with H. erectus unlikely. The discovery of a particularly small calvaria of H. erectus indicates that this taxon overlapped in size with H. habilis, and may have shown marked sexual dimorphism. The new fossils confirm the distinctiveness of H. habilis and H. erectus, independently of overall cranial size, and suggest that these two early taxa were living broadly sympatrically in the same lake basin for almost half a million years. PMID:17687323

  7. Homo floresiensis contextualized: a geometric morphometric comparative analysis of fossil and pathological human samples.

    PubMed

    Baab, Karen L; McNulty, Kieran P; Harvati, Katerina

    2013-01-01

    The origin of hominins found on the remote Indonesian island of Flores remains highly contentious. These specimens may represent a new hominin species, Homo floresiensis, descended from a local population of Homo erectus or from an earlier (pre-H. erectus) migration of a small-bodied and small-brained hominin out of Africa. Alternatively, some workers suggest that some or all of the specimens recovered from Liang Bua are pathological members of a small-bodied modern human population. Pathological conditions proposed to explain their documented anatomical features include microcephaly, myxoedematous endemic hypothyroidism ("cretinism") and Laron syndrome (primary growth hormone insensitivity). This study evaluates evolutionary and pathological hypotheses through comparative analysis of cranial morphology. Geometric morphometric analyses of landmark data show that the sole Flores cranium (LB1) is clearly distinct from healthy modern humans and from those exhibiting hypothyroidism and Laron syndrome. Modern human microcephalic specimens converge, to some extent, on crania of extinct species of Homo. However in the features that distinguish these two groups, LB1 consistently groups with fossil hominins and is most similar to H. erectus. Our study provides further support for recognizing the Flores hominins as a distinct species, H. floresiensis, whose affinities lie with archaic Homo. PMID:23874886

  8. Homo floresiensis Contextualized: A Geometric Morphometric Comparative Analysis of Fossil and Pathological Human Samples

    PubMed Central

    Baab, Karen L.; McNulty, Kieran P.; Harvati, Katerina

    2013-01-01

    The origin of hominins found on the remote Indonesian island of Flores remains highly contentious. These specimens may represent a new hominin species, Homo floresiensis, descended from a local population of Homo erectus or from an earlier (pre-H. erectus) migration of a small-bodied and small-brained hominin out of Africa. Alternatively, some workers suggest that some or all of the specimens recovered from Liang Bua are pathological members of a small-bodied modern human population. Pathological conditions proposed to explain their documented anatomical features include microcephaly, myxoedematous endemic hypothyroidism (“cretinism”) and Laron syndrome (primary growth hormone insensitivity). This study evaluates evolutionary and pathological hypotheses through comparative analysis of cranial morphology. Geometric morphometric analyses of landmark data show that the sole Flores cranium (LB1) is clearly distinct from healthy modern humans and from those exhibiting hypothyroidism and Laron syndrome. Modern human microcephalic specimens converge, to some extent, on crania of extinct species of Homo. However in the features that distinguish these two groups, LB1 consistently groups with fossil hominins and is most similar to H. erectus. Our study provides further support for recognizing the Flores hominins as a distinct species, H. floresiensis, whose affinities lie with archaic Homo. PMID:23874886

  9. Homo floresiensis-like fossils from the early Middle Pleistocene of Flores.

    PubMed

    van den Bergh, Gerrit D; Kaifu, Yousuke; Kurniawan, Iwan; Kono, Reiko T; Brumm, Adam; Setiyabudi, Erick; Aziz, Fachroel; Morwood, Michael J

    2016-06-01

    The evolutionary origin of Homo floresiensis, a diminutive hominin species previously known only by skeletal remains from Liang Bua in western Flores, Indonesia, has been intensively debated. It is a matter of controversy whether this primitive form, dated to the Late Pleistocene, evolved from early Asian Homo erectus and represents a unique and striking case of evolutionary reversal in hominin body and brain size within an insular environment. The alternative hypothesis is that H. floresiensis derived from an older, smaller-brained member of our genus, such as Homo habilis, or perhaps even late Australopithecus, signalling a hitherto undocumented dispersal of hominins from Africa into eastern Asia by two million years ago (2 Ma). Here we describe hominin fossils excavated in 2014 from an early Middle Pleistocene site (Mata Menge) in the So'a Basin of central Flores. These specimens comprise a mandible fragment and six isolated teeth belonging to at least three small-jawed and small-toothed individuals. Dating to ~0.7 Ma, these fossils now constitute the oldest hominin remains from Flores. The Mata Menge mandible and teeth are similar in dimensions and morphological characteristics to those of H. floresiensis from Liang Bua. The exception is the mandibular first molar, which retains a more primitive condition. Notably, the Mata Menge mandible and molar are even smaller in size than those of the two existing H. floresiensis individuals from Liang Bua. The Mata Menge fossils are derived compared with Australopithecus and H. habilis, and so tend to support the view that H. floresiensis is a dwarfed descendent of early Asian H. erectus. Our findings suggest that hominins on Flores had acquired extremely small body size and other morphological traits specific to H. floresiensis at an unexpectedly early time. PMID:27279221

  10. The Age of the 20 Meter Solo River Terrace, Java, Indonesia and the Survival of Homo erectus in Asia

    PubMed Central

    Indriati, Etty; Swisher, Carl C.; Lepre, Christopher; Quinn, Rhonda L.; Suriyanto, Rusyad A.; Hascaryo, Agus T.; Grün, Rainer; Feibel, Craig S.; Pobiner, Briana L.; Aubert, Maxime; Lees, Wendy; Antón, Susan C.

    2011-01-01

    Homo erectus was the first human lineage to disperse widely throughout the Old World, the only hominin in Asia through much of the Pleistocene, and was likely ancestral to H. sapiens. The demise of this taxon remains obscure because of uncertainties regarding the geological age of its youngest populations. In 1996, some of us co-published electron spin resonance (ESR) and uranium series (U-series) results indicating an age as young as 35–50 ka for the late H. erectus sites of Ngandong and Sambungmacan and the faunal site of Jigar (Indonesia). If correct, these ages favor an African origin for recent humans who would overlap with H. erectus in time and space. Here, we report 40Ar/39Ar incremental heating analyses and new ESR/U-series age estimates from the “20 m terrace" at Ngandong and Jigar. Both data sets are internally consistent and provide no evidence for reworking, yet they are inconsistent with one another. The 40Ar/39Ar analyses give an average age of 546±12 ka (sd±5 se) for both sites, the first reliable radiometric indications of a middle Pleistocene component for the terrace. Given the technical accuracy and consistency of the analyses, the argon ages represent either the actual age or the maximum age for the terrace and are significantly older than previous estimates. Most of the ESR/U-series results are older as well, but the oldest that meets all modeling criteria is 143 ka+20/−17. Most samples indicated leaching of uranium and likely represent either the actual or the minimum age of the terrace. Given known sources of error, the U-series results could be consistent with a middle Pleistocene age. However, the ESR and 40Ar/39Ar ages preclude one another. Regardless, the age of the sites and hominins is at least bracketed between these estimates and is older than currently accepted. PMID:21738710

  11. High-resolution record of the Matuyama–Brunhes transition constrains the age of Javanese Homo erectus in the Sangiran dome, Indonesia

    PubMed Central

    Hyodo, Masayuki; Matsu'ura, Shuji; Kamishima, Yuko; Kondo, Megumi; Takeshita, Yoshihiro; Kitaba, Ikuko; Danhara, Tohru; Aziz, Fachroel; Kurniawan, Iwan; Kumai, Hisao

    2011-01-01

    A detailed paleomagnetic study conducted in the Sangiran area, Java, has provided a reliable age constraint on hominid fossil-bearing formations. A reverse-to-normal polarity transition marks a 7-m thick section across the Upper Tuff in the Bapang Formation. The transition has three short reversal episodes and is overlain by a thick normal polarity magnetozone that was fission-track dated to the Brunhes chron. This pattern closely resembles another high-resolution Matuyama–Brunhes (MB) transition record in an Osaka Bay marine core. In the Sangiran sediments, four successive transitional polarity fields lie just below the presumed main MB boundary. Their virtual geomagnetic poles cluster in the western South Pacific, partly overlapping the transitional virtual geomagnetic poles from Hawaiian and Canary Islands’ lavas, which have a mean 40Ar/39Ar age of 776 ± 2 ka. Thus, the polarity transition is unambiguously the MB boundary. A revised correlation of tuff layers in the Bapang Formation reveals that the hominid last occurrence and the tektite level in the Sangiran area are nearly coincident, just below the Upper Middle Tuff, which underlies the MB transition. The stratigraphic relationship of the tektite level to the MB transition in the Sangiran area is consistent with deep-sea core data that show that the meteorite impact preceded the MB reversal by about 12 ka. The MB boundary currently defines the uppermost horizon yielding Homo erectus fossils in the Sangiran area. PMID:22106291

  12. High-resolution record of the Matuyama-Brunhes transition constrains the age of Javanese Homo erectus in the Sangiran dome, Indonesia.

    PubMed

    Hyodo, Masayuki; Matsu'ura, Shuji; Kamishima, Yuko; Kondo, Megumi; Takeshita, Yoshihiro; Kitaba, Ikuko; Danhara, Tohru; Aziz, Fachroel; Kurniawan, Iwan; Kumai, Hisao

    2011-12-01

    A detailed paleomagnetic study conducted in the Sangiran area, Java, has provided a reliable age constraint on hominid fossil-bearing formations. A reverse-to-normal polarity transition marks a 7-m thick section across the Upper Tuff in the Bapang Formation. The transition has three short reversal episodes and is overlain by a thick normal polarity magnetozone that was fission-track dated to the Brunhes chron. This pattern closely resembles another high-resolution Matuyama-Brunhes (MB) transition record in an Osaka Bay marine core. In the Sangiran sediments, four successive transitional polarity fields lie just below the presumed main MB boundary. Their virtual geomagnetic poles cluster in the western South Pacific, partly overlapping the transitional virtual geomagnetic poles from Hawaiian and Canary Islands' lavas, which have a mean (40)Ar/(39)Ar age of 776 ± 2 ka. Thus, the polarity transition is unambiguously the MB boundary. A revised correlation of tuff layers in the Bapang Formation reveals that the hominid last occurrence and the tektite level in the Sangiran area are nearly coincident, just below the Upper Middle Tuff, which underlies the MB transition. The stratigraphic relationship of the tektite level to the MB transition in the Sangiran area is consistent with deep-sea core data that show that the meteorite impact preceded the MB reversal by about 12 ka. The MB boundary currently defines the uppermost horizon yielding Homo erectus fossils in the Sangiran area. PMID:22106291

  13. New fossils from Koobi Fora in northern Kenya confirm taxonomic diversity in early Homo.

    PubMed

    Leakey, Meave G; Spoor, Fred; Dean, M Christopher; Feibel, Craig S; Antón, Susan C; Kiarie, Christopher; Leakey, Louise N

    2012-08-01

    Since its discovery in 1972 (ref. 1), the cranium KNM-ER 1470 has been at the centre of the debate over the number of species of early Homo present in the early Pleistocene epoch of eastern Africa. KNM-ER 1470 stands out among other specimens attributed to early Homo because of its larger size, and its flat and subnasally orthognathic face with anteriorly placed maxillary zygomatic roots. This singular morphology and the incomplete preservation of the fossil have led to different views as to whether KNM-ER 1470 can be accommodated within a single species of early Homo that is highly variable because of sexual, geographical and temporal factors, or whether it provides evidence of species diversity marked by differences in cranial size and facial or masticatory adaptation. Here we report on three newly discovered fossils, aged between 1.78 and 1.95 million years (Myr) old, that clarify the anatomy and taxonomic status of KNM-ER 1470. KNM-ER 62000, a well-preserved face of a late juvenile hominin, closely resembles KNM-ER 1470 but is notably smaller. It preserves previously unknown morphology, including moderately sized, mesiodistally long postcanine teeth. The nearly complete mandible KNM-ER 60000 and mandibular fragment KNM-ER 62003 have a dental arcade that is short anteroposteriorly and flat across the front, with small incisors; these features are consistent with the arcade morphology of KNM-ER 1470 and KNM-ER 62000. The new fossils confirm the presence of two contemporary species of early Homo, in addition to Homo erectus, in the early Pleistocene of eastern Africa. PMID:22874966

  14. Fossil Homo femur from Berg Aukas, northern Namibia.

    PubMed

    Grine, F E; Jungers, W L; Tobias, P V; Pearson, O M

    1995-06-01

    The proximal half of a hominid femur was recovered from deep within a paleokarst feature at the Berg Aukas mine, northern Namibia. The femur is fully mineralized, but it is not possible to place it in geochronological context. It has a very large head, an exceptionally thick diaphyseal cortex, and a very low collodiaphyseal angle, which serve to differentiate it from Holocene homologues. The femur is not attributable to Australopithecus, Paranthropus, or early Homo (i.e., H. habilis sensu lato). Homo erectus femora have a relatively longer and AP flatter neck, and a shaft that exhibits less pilaster than the Berg Aukas specimen. Berg Aukas also differs from early modern femora in several features, including diaphyseal cortical thickness and the degree of subtrochanteric AP flattening. The massive diaphyseal cortex of Berg Aukas finds its closest similarity within archaic H. sapiens (e.g., Castel di Guido) and H. erectus (e.g., KNM-ER 736) samples. It has more cortical bone at midshaft than any other specimen, although relative cortical thickness and the asymmetry of its cross-sectional disposition at this level are comparable with those of other Pleistocene femora. The closest morphological comparisons with Berg Aukas are in archaic (i.e., Middle Pleistocene) H. sapiens and Neandertal samples. PMID:7653506

  15. Evolution of the Genus Homo

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tattersall, Ian; Schwartz, Jeffrey H.

    2009-05-01

    Definition of the genus Homo is almost as fraught as the definition of Homo sapiens. We look at the evidence for “early Homo,” finding little morphological basis for extending our genus to any of the 2.5-1.6-myr-old fossil forms assigned to “early Homo” or Homo habilis/rudolfensis. We also point to heterogeneity among “early African Homo erectus,” and the lack of apomorphies linking these fossils to the Asian Homo erectus group, a cohesive regional clade that shows some internal variation, including brain size increase over time. The first truly cosmopolitan Homo species is Homo heidelbergensis, known from Africa, Europe, and China following 600 kyr ago. One species sympatric with it included the >500-kyr-old Sima de los Huesos fossils from Spain, clearly distinct from Homo heidelbergensis and the oldest hominids assignable to the clade additionally containing Homo neanderthalensis. This clade also shows evidence of brain size expansion with time; but although Homo neanderthalensis had a large brain, it left no unequivocal evidence of the symbolic consciousness that makes our species unique. Homo sapiens clearly originated in Africa, where it existed as a physical entity before it began (also in that continent) to show the first stirrings of symbolism. Most likely, the biological underpinnings of symbolic consciousness were exaptively acquired in the radical developmental reorganization that gave rise to the highly characteristic osteological structure of Homo sapiens, but lay fallow for tens of thousands of years before being “discovered” by a cultural stimulus, plausibly the invention of language.

  16. Origin and evolution of the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    Wood, B

    1992-02-27

    It is remarkable that the taxonomy and phylogenetic relationships of the earliest known representatives of our own genus, Homo, remain obscure. Advances in techniques for absolute dating and reassessments of the fossils themselves have rendered untenable a simple unilineal model of human evolution, in which Homo habilis succeeded the australopithecines and then evolved via H. erectus into H. sapiens-but no clear alternative consensus has yet emerged. PMID:1538759

  17. Découverte d'un Homo sapiens archaïque à Oranjemund, NamibieDiscovery of an archaic Homo sapiens in Oranjemund, Namibia.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Senut, Brigitte; Pickford, Martin; Braga, José; Marais, Daan; Coppens, Yves

    2000-06-01

    The transition between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens in Africa is still a matter of debate due to the paucity of fossils and to the difficulty of estimating their chronologic age. The discovery of a well preserved skull-cap of archaic Homo sapiens (OMD 1'98) in Namibia on the banks of the Orange River enlarges the distribution of these archaic populations to southwestern Africa.

  18. Reconstructed Homo habilis type OH 7 suggests deep-rooted species diversity in early Homo.

    PubMed

    Spoor, Fred; Gunz, Philipp; Neubauer, Simon; Stelzer, Stefanie; Scott, Nadia; Kwekason, Amandus; Dean, M Christopher

    2015-03-01

    Besides Homo erectus (sensu lato), the eastern African fossil record of early Homo has been interpreted as representing either a single variable species, Homo habilis, or two species. In the latter case, however, there is no consensus over the respective groupings, and which of the two includes OH 7, the 1.8-million-year-old H. habilis holotype. This partial skull and hand from Olduvai Gorge remains pivotal to evaluating the early evolution of the Homo lineage, and by priority names one or other of the two taxa. However, the distorted preservation of the diagnostically important OH 7 mandible has hindered attempts to compare this specimen with other fossils. Here we present a virtual reconstruction of the OH 7 mandible, and compare it to other early Homo fossils. The reconstructed mandible is remarkably primitive, with a long and narrow dental arcade more similar to Australopithecus afarensis than to the derived parabolic arcades of Homo sapiens or H. erectus. We find that this shape variability is not consistent with a single species of early Homo. Importantly, the jaw morphology of OH 7 is incompatible with fossils assigned to Homo rudolfensis and with the A.L. 666-1 Homo maxilla. The latter is morphologically more derived than OH 7 but 500,000 years older, suggesting that the H. habilis lineage originated before 2.3 million years ago, thus marking deep-rooted species diversity in the genus Homo. We also reconstructed the parietal bones of OH 7 and estimated its endocranial volume. At between 729 and 824 ml it is larger than any previously published value, and emphasizes the near-complete overlap in brain size among species of early Homo. Our results clarify the H. habilis hypodigm, but raise questions about its phylogenetic relationships. Differences between species of early Homo appear to be characterized more by gnathic diversity than by differences in brain size, which was highly variable within all taxa. PMID:25739632

  19. Man the Fat Hunter: The Demise of Homo erectus and the Emergence of a New Hominin Lineage in the Middle Pleistocene (ca. 400 kyr) Levant

    PubMed Central

    Ben-Dor, Miki; Gopher, Avi; Hershkovitz, Israel; Barkai, Ran

    2011-01-01

    The worldwide association of H. erectus with elephants is well documented and so is the preference of humans for fat as a source of energy. We show that rather than a matter of preference, H. erectus in the Levant was dependent on both elephants and fat for his survival. The disappearance of elephants from the Levant some 400 kyr ago coincides with the appearance of a new and innovative local cultural complex – the Levantine Acheulo-Yabrudian and, as is evident from teeth recently found in the Acheulo-Yabrudian 400-200 kyr site of Qesem Cave, the replacement of H. erectus by a new hominin. We employ a bio-energetic model to present a hypothesis that the disappearance of the elephants, which created a need to hunt an increased number of smaller and faster animals while maintaining an adequate fat content in the diet, was the evolutionary drive behind the emergence of the lighter, more agile, and cognitively capable hominins. Qesem Cave thus provides a rare opportunity to study the mechanisms that underlie the emergence of our post-erectus ancestors, the fat hunters. PMID:22174868

  20. Bone strength and athletic ability in hominids: Ardipithecus ramidus to Homo sapiens

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, S. A.

    2013-03-01

    The ability of the femur to resist bending stresses is determined by its midlength cross-sectional geometry, its length and the elastic properties of the mineral part of the bone. The animal's athletic ability, determined by a ``bone strength index,'' is limited by this femoral bending strength in relation to the loads on the femur. This analysis is applied to the fossil record for Homo sapiens, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Australopithecus afarensis and Ardipithecus ramidus. Evidence that the femoral bone strength index of modern Homo sapiens has weakened over the last 50,000 years is found.

  1. A single lineage in early Pleistocene Homo: size variation continuity in early Pleistocene Homo crania from East Africa and Georgia.

    PubMed

    Van Arsdale, Adam P; Wolpoff, Milford H

    2013-03-01

    The relationship between Homo habilis and early African Homo erectus has been contentious because H. habilis was hypothesized to be an evolutionary stage between Australopithecus and H. erectus, more than a half-century ago. Recent work re-dating key African early Homo localities and the discovery of new fossils in East Africa and Georgia provide the opportunity for a productive re-evaluation of this topic. Here, we test the hypothesis that the cranial sample from East Africa and Georgia represents a single evolutionary lineage of Homo spanning the approximately 1.9-1.5 Mya time period, consisting of specimens attributed to H. habilis and H. erectus. To address issues of small sample sizes in each time period, and uneven representation of cranial data, we developed a novel nonparametric randomization technique based on the variance in an index of pairwise difference from a broad set of fossil comparisons. We fail to reject the hypothesis of a single lineage this period by identifying a strong, time-dependent pattern of variation throughout the sequence. These results suggest the need for a reappraisal of fossil evidence from other regions within this time period and highlight the critical nature of the Plio-Pleistocene boundary for understanding the early evolution of the genus Homo. PMID:23461332

  2. The first archaic Homo from Taiwan.

    PubMed

    Chang, Chun-Hsiang; Kaifu, Yousuke; Takai, Masanaru; Kono, Reiko T; Grün, Rainer; Matsu'ura, Shuji; Kinsley, Les; Lin, Liang-Kong

    2015-01-01

    Recent studies of an increasing number of hominin fossils highlight regional and chronological diversities of archaic Homo in the Pleistocene of eastern Asia. However, such a realization is still based on limited geographical occurrences mainly from Indonesia, China and Russian Altai. Here we describe a newly discovered archaic Homo mandible from Taiwan (Penghu 1), which further increases the diversity of Pleistocene Asian hominins. Penghu 1 revealed an unexpectedly late survival (younger than 450 but most likely 190-10 thousand years ago) of robust, apparently primitive dentognathic morphology in the periphery of the continent, which is unknown among the penecontemporaneous fossil records from other regions of Asia except for the mid-Middle Pleistocene Homo from Hexian, Eastern China. Such patterns of geographic trait distribution cannot be simply explained by clinal geographic variation of Homo erectus between northern China and Java, and suggests survival of multiple evolutionary lineages among archaic hominins before the arrival of modern humans in the region. PMID:25625212

  3. The first archaic Homo from Taiwan

    PubMed Central

    Chang, Chun-Hsiang; Kaifu, Yousuke; Takai, Masanaru; Kono, Reiko T.; Grün, Rainer; Matsu’ura, Shuji; Kinsley, Les; Lin, Liang-Kong

    2015-01-01

    Recent studies of an increasing number of hominin fossils highlight regional and chronological diversities of archaic Homo in the Pleistocene of eastern Asia. However, such a realization is still based on limited geographical occurrences mainly from Indonesia, China and Russian Altai. Here we describe a newly discovered archaic Homo mandible from Taiwan (Penghu 1), which further increases the diversity of Pleistocene Asian hominins. Penghu 1 revealed an unexpectedly late survival (younger than 450 but most likely 190–10 thousand years ago) of robust, apparently primitive dentognathic morphology in the periphery of the continent, which is unknown among the penecontemporaneous fossil records from other regions of Asia except for the mid-Middle Pleistocene Homo from Hexian, Eastern China. Such patterns of geographic trait distribution cannot be simply explained by clinal geographic variation of Homo erectus between northern China and Java, and suggests survival of multiple evolutionary lineages among archaic hominins before the arrival of modern humans in the region. PMID:25625212

  4. Improved age control on early Homo fossils from the upper Burgi Member at Koobi Fora, Kenya.

    PubMed

    Joordens, Josephine C A; Dupont-Nivet, Guillaume; Feibel, Craig S; Spoor, Fred; Sier, Mark J; van der Lubbe, Jeroen H J L; Nielsen, Trine Kellberg; Knul, Monika V; Davies, Gareth R; Vonhof, Hubert B

    2013-12-01

    To address questions regarding the evolutionary origin, radiation and dispersal of the genus Homo, it is crucial to be able to place the occurrence of hominin fossils in a high-resolution chronological framework. The period around 2 Ma (millions of years ago) in eastern Africa is of particular interest as it is at this time that a more substantial fossil record of the genus Homo is first found. Here we combine magnetostratigraphy and strontium (Sr) isotope stratigraphy to improve age control on hominin-bearing upper Burgi (UBU) deposits in Areas 105 and 131 on the Karari Ridge in the eastern Turkana Basin (Kenya). We identify the base of the Olduvai subchron (bC2n) plus a short isolated interval of consistently normal polarity that we interpret to be the Pre-Olduvai event. Combined with precession-forced (~20 kyr [thousands of years]) wet-dry climate cycles resolved by Sr isotope ratios, the magnetostratigraphic data allow us to construct an age model for the UBU deposits. We provide detailed age constraints for 15 hominin fossils from Area 131, showing that key specimens such as cranium KNM-ER 1470, partial face KNM-ER 62000 and mandibles KNM-ER 1482, KNM-ER 1801, and KNM-ER 1802 can be constrained between 1.945 ± 0.004 and 2.058 ± 0.034 Ma, and thus older than previously estimated. The new ages are consistent with a temporal overlap of two species of early Homo that can be distinguished by their facial morphology. Further, our results show that in this time interval, hominins occurred throughout the wet-dry climate cycles, supporting the hypothesis that the lacustrine Turkana Basin was a refugium during regionally dry periods. By establishing the observed first appearance datum of a marine-derived stingray in UBU deposits at 2.058 ± 0.034 Ma, we show that at this time the Turkana Basin was hydrographically connected to the Indian Ocean, facilitating dispersal of fauna between these areas. From a biogeographical perspective, we propose that the Indian Ocean

  5. A new skull of early Homo from Dmanisi, Georgia.

    PubMed

    Vekua, Abesalom; Lordkipanidze, David; Rightmire, G Philip; Agusti, Jordi; Ferring, Reid; Maisuradze, Givi; Mouskhelishvili, Alexander; Nioradze, Medea; De Leon, Marcia Ponce; Tappen, Martha; Tvalchrelidze, Merab; Zollikofer, Christoph

    2002-07-01

    Another hominid skull has been recovered at Dmanisi (Republic of Georgia) from the same strata in which hominid remains have been reported previously. The Dmanisi site dated to approximately 1.75 million years ago has now produced craniofacial portions of several hominid individuals, along with many well-preserved animal fossils and quantities of stone artifacts. Although there are certain anatomical differences among the Dmanisi specimens, the hominids do not clearly represent more than one taxon. We assign the new skull provisionally to Homo erectus (=ergaster). The Dmanisi specimens are the most primitive and small-brained fossils to be grouped with this species or any taxon linked unequivocally with genus Homo and also the ones most similar to the presumed habilis-like stem. We suggest that the ancestors of the Dmanisi population dispersed from Africa before the emergence of humans identified broadly with the H. erectus grade. PMID:12098694

  6. Climatic influences on the evolution of early Homo?

    PubMed

    Antón, Susan C

    2007-01-01

    The nature of the human fossil record is less than ideal for the generation of precise correlations between environmental variables and patterns of evolution in specific lineages. Nonetheless, a critical look at what can and cannot be said from individual fossil morphology and the correlation of specific environmental proxies with specific hominin fossils may lead to a greater understanding of the degree of certainty with which we should embrace environmental hypotheses for the evolution of Homo. Climate shifts have been implicated in both the origin of the genus and its dispersal from Africa. Here, I consider three areas in which a climatic influence has been posited to explain evolutionary shifts in the genus Homo: the origin and dispersal of the genus from Africa; geography, climate and body size in early Homo, and the influence of climate-induced sea level rise on morphological isolation in H. erectus. Each of the data sets is far from ideal, and interpretations of each of the data sets are fraught with issues of equifinality. Of the three hypotheses discussed, the clearest link is seen between latitudinal variation (and presumably temperature) and body size in H. erectus. Similarly, climate-induced sea level change seems a reasonable isolating mechanism to explain the pattern of cranial variation in later Asian H. erectus, but the distribution could also reflect incompletely sampled clinal variation. Alternatively, only equivocal support is found for the influence of climate on the differentiation of H. erectus from H. habilis (as proxied by body/brain size scaling), and therefore the dispersal of the genus Homo cannot be as clearly linked to changes in body size and shape as it has been in the past. These preliminary data suggest that an emphasis on understanding local adaptation before looking at global (and specific) level change is critical to elucidating the importance of climatic factors on the evolution of the genus Homo. PMID:17855788

  7. Spinal cord evolution in early Homo.

    PubMed

    Meyer, Marc R; Haeusler, Martin

    2015-11-01

    The discovery at Nariokotome of the Homo erectus skeleton KNM-WT 15000, with a narrow spinal canal, seemed to show that this relatively large-brained hominin retained the primitive spinal cord size of African apes and that brain size expansion preceded postcranial neurological evolution. Here we compare the size and shape of the KNM-WT 15000 spinal canal with modern and fossil taxa including H. erectus from Dmanisi, Homo antecessor, the European middle Pleistocene hominins from Sima de los Huesos, and Pan troglodytes. In terms of shape and absolute and relative size of the spinal canal, we find all of the Dmanisi and most of the vertebrae of KNM-WT 15000 are within the human range of variation except for the C7, T2, and T3 of KNM-WT 15000, which are constricted, suggesting spinal stenosis. While additional fossils might definitively indicate whether H. erectus had evolved a human-like enlarged spinal canal, the evidence from the Dmanisi spinal canal and the unaffected levels of KNM-WT 15000 show that unlike Australopithecus, H. erectus had a spinal canal size and shape equivalent to that of modern humans. Subadult status is unlikely to affect our results, as spinal canal growth is complete in both individuals. We contest the notion that vertebrae yield information about respiratory control or language evolution, but suggest that, like H. antecessor and European middle Pleistocene hominins from Sima de los Huesos, early Homo possessed a postcranial neurological endowment roughly commensurate to modern humans, with implications for neurological, structural, and vascular improvements over Pan and Australopithecus. PMID:26553817

  8. Dental microwear and diets of African early Homo.

    PubMed

    Ungar, Peter S; Grine, Frederick E; Teaford, Mark F; El Zaatari, Sireen

    2006-01-01

    Conventional wisdom ties the origin and early evolution of the genus Homo to environmental changes that occurred near the end of the Pliocene. The basic idea is that changing habitats led to new diets emphasizing savanna resources, such as herd mammals or underground storage organs. Fossil teeth provide the most direct evidence available for evaluating this theory. In this paper, we present a comprehensive study of dental microwear in Plio-Pleistocene Homo from Africa. We examined all available cheek teeth from Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, and South Africa and found 18 that preserved antemortem microwear. Microwear features were measured and compared for these specimens and a baseline series of five extant primate species (Cebus apella, Gorilla gorilla, Lophocebus albigena, Pan troglodytes, and Papio ursinus) and two protohistoric human foraging groups (Aleut and Arikara) with documented differences in diet and subsistence strategies. Results confirmed that dental microwear reflects diet, such that hard-object specialists tend to have more large microwear pits, whereas tough food eaters usually have more striations and smaller microwear features. Early Homo specimens clustered with baseline groups that do not prefer fracture resistant foods. Still, Homo erectus and individuals from Swartkrans Member 1 had more small pits than Homo habilis and specimens from Sterkfontein Member 5C. These results suggest that none of the early Homo groups specialized on very hard or tough foods, but that H. erectus and Swartkrans Member 1 individuals ate, at least occasionally, more brittle or tough items than other fossil hominins studied. PMID:16226788

  9. Aquatic ape theory and fossil hominids.

    PubMed

    Verhaegen, M J

    1991-06-01

    While most older palaeo-anthropological studies emphasise the similarities of the fossil hominids with modern man, recent studies often stress the unique and the apelike features of the australopithecine dentitions, skulls and postcranial bones. It is worth reconsidering the features of Australopithecus, Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis in the light of the so-called Aquatic Ape Theory (AAT) of Hardy and Morgan, and to compare the skeletal parts of our fossil relatives with those of (semi)aquatic animals. Possible convergences are observed with proboscis monkeys, beavers, sea-otters, hippopotamuses, seals, sea-lions, walruses, sea-cows, whales, dolphins, porpoises, penguins and crocodiles. PMID:1909768

  10. Brain size and encephalization in early to Mid-Pleistocene Homo.

    PubMed

    Rightmire, G Philip

    2004-06-01

    Important changes in the brain have occurred during the course of human evolution. Both absolute and relative size increases can be documented for species of Homo, culminating in the appearance of modern humans. One species that is particularly well-represented by fossil crania is Homo erectus. The mean capacity for 30 individuals is 973 cm(3). Within this group there is substantial variation, but brain size increases slightly in specimens from later time periods. Other Middle Pleistocene crania differ from those of Homo erectus. Characters of the facial skeleton, vault, and cranial base suggest that fossils from sites such as Arago Cave in France, the Sima de los Huesos in Spain, Bodo in Ethiopia, Broken Hill in Zambia, and perhaps Dali in China belong to the taxon Homo heidelbergensis. Ten of these mid-Quaternary hominins have brains averaging 1,206 cm(3) in volume, and many fall beyond the limits of size predicted for Homo erectus of equivalent age. When orbit height is used to construct an index of relative brain size, it is apparent that the (significant) increase in volume documented for the Middle Pleistocene individuals is not simply a consequence of larger body mass. Encephalization quotient values confirm this finding. These changes in absolute and relative brain size can be taken as further corroborative evidence for a speciation event, in which Homo erectus produced a daughter lineage. It is probable that Homo heidelbergensis originated in Africa or western Eurasia and then ranged widely across the Old World. Archaeological traces indicate that these populations differed in their technology and behavior from earlier hominins. PMID:15160365

  11. New hominid fossils from the Swartkrans formation (1979-1986 excavations): postcranial specimens.

    PubMed

    Susman, R L

    1989-08-01

    New postcranial fossils of Paranthropus robustus and Homo cf. erectus were recovered from Swartkrans from 1979 through 1986. These fossils are from Members 1, 2, and 3. The new fossils are described here along with their morphological affinities. Fossils that are assigned to Paranthropus indicate that the South African "robust" australopithecines engaged in tool behavior and were essentially terrestrial bipeds at around 1.8 Myr BP. The manual dexterity and bipedal locomotion of Paranthropus may have equaled that of Homo habilis in East Africa at approximately the same time. PMID:2672829

  12. The Homo habitat niche: using the avian fossil record to depict ecological characteristics of Palaeolithic Eurasian hominins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finlayson, Clive; Carrión, José; Brown, Kimberly; Finlayson, Geraldine; Sánchez-Marco, Antonio; Fa, Darren; Rodríguez-Vidal, Joaquín; Fernández, Santiago; Fierro, Elena; Bernal-Gómez, Marco; Giles-Pacheco, Francisco

    2011-06-01

    Although hardly applied to human palaeoecology, bird fossils offer a unique opportunity for quantitative studies of the hominin habitat. Here we reconstruct the Homo habitat niche across a large area of the Palaearctic, based on a database of avian fauna for Pleistocene sites. Our results reveal a striking association between Homo and habitat mosaics. A mix of open savannah-type woodland, wetlands and rocky habitats emerges as the predominant combination occupied by Homo across a wide geographical area, from the earliest populations of the Lower Palaeolithic to the latest hunter-gatherer communities of the Upper Palaeolithic. This observation is in keeping with the view that such landscapes have had long standing selective value for hominins.

  13. Taxonomic identification of Lower Pleistocene fossil hominins based on distal humeral diaphyseal cross-sectional shape

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    The coexistence of multiple hominin species during the Lower Pleistocene has long presented a challenge for taxonomic attribution of isolated postcrania. Although fossil humeri are well-suited for studies of hominin postcranial variation due to their relative abundance, humeral articular morphology has thus far been of limited value for differentiating Paranthropus from Homo. On the other hand, distal humeral diaphyseal shape has been used to justify such generic distinctions at Swartkrans. The potential utility of humeral diaphyseal shape merits larger-scale quantitative analysis, particularly as it permits the inclusion of fragmentary specimens lacking articular morphology. This study analyzes shape variation of the distal humeral diaphysis among fossil hominins (c. 2-1 Ma) to test the hypothesis that specimens can be divided into distinct morphotypes. Coordinate landmarks were placed on 3D laser scans to quantify cross-sectional shape at a standardized location of the humeral diaphysis (proximal to the olecranon fossa) for a variety of fossil hominins and extant hominids. The fossil sample includes specimens attributed to species based on associated craniodental remains. Mantel tests of matrix correlation were used to assess hypotheses about morphometric relationships among the fossils by comparing empirically-derived Procrustes distance matrices to hypothetical model matrices. Diaphyseal shape variation is consistent with the hypothesis of three distinct morphotypes (Paranthropus, Homo erectus, non-erectus early Homo) in both eastern and southern Africa during the observed time period. Specimens attributed to non-erectus early Homo are unique among hominids with respect to the degree of relative anteroposterior flattening, while H. erectus humeri exhibit morphology more similar to that of modern humans. In both geographic regions, Paranthropus is characterized by a morphology that is intermediate with respect to those morphological features that differentiate

  14. Taxonomic identification of Lower Pleistocene fossil hominins based on distal humeral diaphyseal cross-sectional shape.

    PubMed

    Lague, Michael R

    2015-01-01

    The coexistence of multiple hominin species during the Lower Pleistocene has long presented a challenge for taxonomic attribution of isolated postcrania. Although fossil humeri are well-suited for studies of hominin postcranial variation due to their relative abundance, humeral articular morphology has thus far been of limited value for differentiating Paranthropus from Homo. On the other hand, distal humeral diaphyseal shape has been used to justify such generic distinctions at Swartkrans. The potential utility of humeral diaphyseal shape merits larger-scale quantitative analysis, particularly as it permits the inclusion of fragmentary specimens lacking articular morphology. This study analyzes shape variation of the distal humeral diaphysis among fossil hominins (c. 2-1 Ma) to test the hypothesis that specimens can be divided into distinct morphotypes. Coordinate landmarks were placed on 3D laser scans to quantify cross-sectional shape at a standardized location of the humeral diaphysis (proximal to the olecranon fossa) for a variety of fossil hominins and extant hominids. The fossil sample includes specimens attributed to species based on associated craniodental remains. Mantel tests of matrix correlation were used to assess hypotheses about morphometric relationships among the fossils by comparing empirically-derived Procrustes distance matrices to hypothetical model matrices. Diaphyseal shape variation is consistent with the hypothesis of three distinct morphotypes (Paranthropus, Homo erectus, non-erectus early Homo) in both eastern and southern Africa during the observed time period. Specimens attributed to non-erectus early Homo are unique among hominids with respect to the degree of relative anteroposterior flattening, while H. erectus humeri exhibit morphology more similar to that of modern humans. In both geographic regions, Paranthropus is characterized by a morphology that is intermediate with respect to those morphological features that differentiate

  15. Associated ilium and femur from Koobi Fora, Kenya, and postcranial diversity in early Homo.

    PubMed

    Ward, Carol V; Feibel, Craig S; Hammond, Ashley S; Leakey, Louise N; Moffett, Elizabeth A; Plavcan, J Michael; Skinner, Matthew M; Spoor, Fred; Leakey, Meave G

    2015-04-01

    During the evolution of hominins, it is generally accepted that there was a shift in postcranial morphology between Australopithecus and the genus Homo. Given the scarcity of associated remains of early Homo, however, relatively little is known about early Homo postcranial morphology. There are hints of postcranial diversity among species, but our knowledge of the nature and extent of potential differences is limited. Here we present a new associated partial ilium and femur from Koobi Fora, Kenya, dating to 1.9 Ma (millions of years ago) that is clearly attributable to the genus Homo but documents a pattern of morphology not seen in eastern African early Homo erectus. The ilium and proximal femur share distinctive anatomy found only in Homo. However, the geometry of the femoral midshaft and contour of the pelvic inlet do not resemble that of any specimens attributed to H. erectus from eastern Africa. This new fossil confirms the presence of at least two postcranial morphotypes within early Homo, and documents diversity in postcranial morphology among early Homo species that may reflect underlying body form and/or adaptive differences. PMID:25747316

  16. From Australopithecus to Homo: the transition that wasn't.

    PubMed

    Kimbel, William H; Villmoare, Brian

    2016-07-01

    Although the transition from Australopithecus to Homo is usually thought of as a momentous transformation, the fossil record bearing on the origin and earliest evolution of Homo is virtually undocumented. As a result, the poles of the transition are frequently attached to taxa (e.g. A. afarensis, at ca 3.0 Ma versus H. habilis or H. erectus, at ca 2.0-1.7 Ma) in which substantial adaptive differences have accumulated over significant spans of independent evolution. Such comparisons, in which temporally remote and adaptively divergent species are used to identify a 'transition', lend credence to the idea that genera should be conceived at once as monophyletic clades and adaptively unified grades. However, when the problem is recast in terms of lineages, rather than taxa per se, the adaptive criterion becomes a problem of subjectively privileging 'key' characteristics from what is typically a stepwise pattern of acquisition of novel characters beginning in the basal representatives of a clade. This is the pattern inferred for species usually included in early Homo, including H. erectus, which has often been cast in the role as earliest humanlike hominin. A fresh look at brain size, hand morphology and earliest technology suggests that a number of key Homo attributes may already be present in generalized species of Australopithecus, and that adaptive distinctions in Homo are simply amplifications or extensions of ancient hominin trends.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. PMID:27298460

  17. Bone strength and athletic ability in hominids: Ardipithecus ramidus to Homo sapiens

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Scott

    2012-10-01

    A methodology for the evaluation of the athletic ability of animals based on the strength of their femur and their body mass is developed. The ability of the femur to resist bending stresses is determined by its midlength cross-sectional geometry, its length and the elastic properties of the mineral part of the bone. The animal's athletic ability, determined by a ``bone strength index,'' is limited by this femoral bending strength in relation to the loads on the femur. This analysis is applied to the fossil record for Homo sapiens, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Australopithecus afarensis and Ardipithecus ramidus. Evidence that the femoral bone strength index of modern Homo sapiens has weakened over the last 50,000 years is found.

  18. Measures of maturation in early fossil hominins: events at the first transition from australopiths to early Homo.

    PubMed

    Dean, M Christopher

    2016-07-01

    An important question in palaeoanthropology is whether, among the australopiths and the first fossil hominins attributed to early Homo, there was a shift towards a more prolonged period of growth that can be distinguished from that of the living great apes and whether between the end of weaning and the beginning of puberty there was a slow period of growth as there is in modern humans. Evidence for the pace of growth in early fossil hominins comes from preserved tooth microstructure. A record of incremental growth in enamel and dentine persists, which allows us to reconstruct tooth growth and compare key measures of dental maturation with modern humans and living great apes. Despite their diverse diets and way of life, it is currently difficult to identify any clear differences in the timing of dental development among living great apes, australopiths and the earliest hominins attributed to the genus Homo There is, however, limited evidence that some early hominins may have attained a greater proportion of their body mass and stature relatively earlier in the growth period than is typical of modern humans today.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. PMID:27298465

  19. Brief Communication: Shape analysis of the MT 1 proximal articular surface in fossil hominins and shod and unshod Homo.

    PubMed

    Proctor, Daniel J

    2010-12-01

    As a follow-up study to Proctor et al. (Am J Phys Anthropol 135 (2008) 216-224), this study quantifies the first metatarsal proximal articular surface using three-dimensional morphometrics to test for differences in articular surface shape between habitually shod and habitually unshod humans. In addition, differences in shape between Homo, Pan, Gorilla, and Hylobates are compared to the fossil hominin specimens A. L. 333-54, Stw 562, Stw 573 ("Little Foot"), OH 8, SKX 5017, and SK 1813. No difference in surface shape was found between habitually shod and habitually unshod humans. There is a clear quantitative division in articular surface shape between humans and apes that is more pronounced than a previous study by Proctor et al. (Am J Phys Anthropol 135 (2008) 216-224), due to additional landmarks present in this study. The specimen OH 8 is indistinguishable from modern Homo. The fossils A. L. 333-54, Stw 562, and Stw 573 are intermediate in shape between humans and apes. The specimens SKX 5017 and SK 1813 have a more apelike articular surface. When combined with other characteristics, this trait suggests that Paranthropus used a degree of abduction during locomotion that was much less than that in extant apes, but greater than that in Australopithecus, allowing for some small degree of grasping ability. PMID:20925078

  20. The evolutionary relationships and age of Homo naledi: An assessment using dated Bayesian phylogenetic methods.

    PubMed

    Dembo, Mana; Radovčić, Davorka; Garvin, Heather M; Laird, Myra F; Schroeder, Lauren; Scott, Jill E; Brophy, Juliet; Ackermann, Rebecca R; Musiba, Chares M; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Mooers, Arne Ø; Collard, Mark

    2016-08-01

    Homo naledi is a recently discovered species of fossil hominin from South Africa. A considerable amount is already known about H. naledi but some important questions remain unanswered. Here we report a study that addressed two of them: "Where does H. naledi fit in the hominin evolutionary tree?" and "How old is it?" We used a large supermatrix of craniodental characters for both early and late hominin species and Bayesian phylogenetic techniques to carry out three analyses. First, we performed a dated Bayesian analysis to generate estimates of the evolutionary relationships of fossil hominins including H. naledi. Then we employed Bayes factor tests to compare the strength of support for hypotheses about the relationships of H. naledi suggested by the best-estimate trees. Lastly, we carried out a resampling analysis to assess the accuracy of the age estimate for H. naledi yielded by the dated Bayesian analysis. The analyses strongly supported the hypothesis that H. naledi forms a clade with the other Homo species and Australopithecus sediba. The analyses were more ambiguous regarding the position of H. naledi within the (Homo, Au. sediba) clade. A number of hypotheses were rejected, but several others were not. Based on the available craniodental data, Homo antecessor, Asian Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Homo floresiensis, Homo sapiens, and Au. sediba could all be the sister taxon of H. naledi. According to the dated Bayesian analysis, the most likely age for H. naledi is 912 ka. This age estimate was supported by the resampling analysis. Our findings have a number of implications. Most notably, they support the assignment of the new specimens to Homo, cast doubt on the claim that H. naledi is simply a variant of H. erectus, and suggest H. naledi is younger than has been previously proposed. PMID:27457542

  1. The brain of LB1, Homo floresiensis.

    PubMed

    Falk, Dean; Hildebolt, Charles; Smith, Kirk; Morwood, M J; Sutikna, Thomas; Brown, Peter; Jatmiko; Saptomo, E Wayhu; Brunsden, Barry; Prior, Fred

    2005-04-01

    The brain of Homo floresiensis was assessed by comparing a virtual endocast from the type specimen (LB1) with endocasts from great apes, Homo erectus, Homo sapiens, a human pygmy, a human microcephalic, specimen number Sts 5 (Australopithecus africanus), and specimen number WT 17000 (Paranthropus aethiopicus). Morphometric, allometric, and shape data indicate that LB1 is not a microcephalic or pygmy. LB1's brain/body size ratio scales like that of an australopithecine, but its endocast shape resembles that of Homo erectus. LB1 has derived frontal and temporal lobes and a lunate sulcus in a derived position, which are consistent with capabilities for higher cognitive processing. PMID:15749690

  2. Human species and mating systems: Neandertal-Homo sapiens reproductive isolation and the archaeological and fossil records.

    PubMed

    Overmann, Karenleigh; Coolidge, Frederick

    2013-01-01

    The present paper examined the assumption of strong reproductive isolation (RI) between Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens, as well as the question of what form it might have taken, using insights from the parallel case of chimpanzee–bonobo hybridization. RI from hybrid sterility or inviability was thought unlikely based on the short separation-to-introgression timeline. The forms of RI that typically develop in primates have relatively short timelines (especially for partial implementation); they generally preclude mating or influence hybrid survival and reproduction in certain contexts, and they have the potential to skew introgression directionality. These RI barriers are also consistent with some interpretations of the archaeological and fossil records, especially when behavioral, cognitive, morphological, and genetic differences between the two human species are taken into consideration. Differences potentially influencing patterns of survival and reproduction include interspecies violence, Neandertal xenophobia, provisioning behavior, and ontogenetic, morphological, and behavioral differences affecting matters such as kin and mate recognition, infanticide, and sexual selection. These factors may have skewed the occurrence of interbreeding or the survival and reproduction of hybrids in a way that might at least partially explain the pattern of introgression. PMID:24344097

  3. A Homo habilis maxilla and other newly-discovered hominid fossils from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.

    PubMed

    Clarke, R J

    2012-08-01

    In 1995, a 1.8 million year old hominid maxilla with complete dentition (OH 65) was excavated from Bed I in the western part of Olduvai Gorge. The molar crowns are small relative to the long flaring roots, and the root of the canine is very long and straight. The broad maxilla with wide U-shaped palate and the form of the tooth roots closely match those of KNM-ER 1470 which, in its parietal size and morphology, matches the type specimen of Homo habilis, OH 7. Thus, OH 65 and KNM-ER 1470 group with OH 7 as representatives of H. habilis while some other Olduvai specimens, such as OH 13 and OH 24, have more in common in terms of morphology and brain size with Australopithecus africanus. Between 1995 and 2007, the OLAPP team has recovered teeth of eight other hominid individuals from various parts of Olduvai Gorge. These have been identified as belonging to H. habilis, Paranthropus boisei, and Australopithecus cf. africanus. PMID:22561056

  4. What constitutes Homo sapiens? Morphology versus received wisdom.

    PubMed

    Schwartz, Jeffrey

    2016-06-20

    Although Linnaeus coined Homo sapiens in 1735, it was Blumenbach forty years later who provided the first morphological definition of the species. Since humans were not then allowed to be ante-Diluvian, his effort applied to the genus, as well. After the Feldhofer Grotto Neanderthal disproved this creationist notion, and human-fossil hunting became legitimate, new specimens were allocated either to sapiens or new species within Homo, or even to new species within new genera. Yet as these taxonomic acts reflected the morphological differences between specimens, they failed to address the question: What constitutes H. sapiens? When in 1950 Mayr collapsed all human fossils into Homo, he not only denied humans a diverse evolutionary past, he also shifted the key to identifying its species from morphology to geological age - a practice most paleoanthropologists still follow. Thus, for example, H. erectus is the species that preceded H. sapiens, and H. sapiens is the species into which H. erectus morphed. In order to deal with a growing morass of morphologically dissimilar specimens, the non-taxonomic terms "archaic" (AS) and "anatomically modern" (AMS) were introduced to distinguish between the earlier and later versions of H. sapiens, thereby making the species impossible to define. In attempting to disentangle fact from scenario, I begin from the beginning, trying to delineate features that may be distinctive of extant humans (ES), and then turning to the fossils that have been included in the species. With the exception of Upper Paleolithic humans - e.g. from Cro-Magnon, Dolni Vestonice, Mladeč - I argue that many specimens regarded as AMS, and all those deemed AS, are not H. sapiens. The features these AMS do share with ES suggest the existence of a sapiens clade. Further, restudy of near-recent fossils, especially from southwestern China (∼11-14.5 ka), reinforces what discoveries such as H. floresiensis indicate: "If it's recent, it's not necessarily H. sapiens

  5. Electron probe energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis (EDXA) in the investigation of fossil bone: the case of Java man.

    PubMed

    Bartsiokas, A; Day, M H

    1993-05-22

    Doubts about the attribution of the Trinil femur to Homo erectus on anatomical grounds have a long history. Here, for the first time, published stratigraphic information and chemical evidence based on the Ca/P ratios confirm that the anatomical doubts are justified. The Trinil femur apparently belongs to a more recent stratum above the 'fossil layer' (Hauptknochenschicht, HK) in which the Trinil calotte was found. It is concluded that the Trinil Femur I belongs to Homo sapiens, whereas the Trinil Femora II-V and the calotte belong to H. erectus. The chemical evidence derives from the use of electron probe energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis (EDXA), a technique that can be virtually non-destructive and therefore may be used on scarce fossil evidence. PMID:8391701

  6. Un nouveau crâne humain fossile dans le dôme de Sangiran (Java, Indonésie)A recently discovered fossil human skull from the Sangiran dome (Java, Indonesia).

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Widianto, Harry; Grimaud-Hervé, Dominique

    2000-06-01

    The study of new human remains discovered at the Grogol Wetan hamlet, in the Kabuh layers of the Sangiran stratigraphy dated between 0.8 and 0.25 million years, allows us to show morphological characters very similar to those observed on the other hominids of the same stratigraphical layers of this site. So, we can attribute this human fossil to this very homogeneous population of asiatic Homo erectus.

  7. Taxonomic affinity of the early Homo cranium from Swartkrans, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Grine, F E; Demes, B; Jungers, W L; Cole, T M

    1993-12-01

    A quantitative analysis that employs randomization methods and distance statistics has been undertaken in an attempt to clarify the taxonomic affinities of the partial Homo cranium (SK 847) from Member 1 of the Swartkrans Formation. Although SK 847 has been argued to represent early H. erectus, exact randomization tests reveal that the magnitude of differences between it and two crania that have been attributed to that taxon (KNM-ER 3733 and KNM-WT 15000) is highly unlikely to be encountered in a modern human sample drawn from eastern and southern Africa. Some of the variables that differentiate SK 847 from the two early H. erectus crania (e.g., nasal breadth, frontal breadth, mastoid process size) have been considered to be relevant characters in the definition of that taxon. Just as the significant differences between SK 847 and the two early H. erectus crania make attribution of the Swartkrans specimen to that taxon unlikely, the linkage of SK 847 to KNM-ER 1813, and especially Stw 53, suggests that the Swartkrans cranium may have its closest affinity with H. habilis sensu lato. Differences from KNM-ER 1813, however, hint that the South African fossils may represent a species of early Homo that has not been sampled in the Plio-Pleistocene of eastern Africa. The similarity of SK 847 and Stw 53 may support faunal evidence which suggests that Sterkfontein Member 5 and Swartkrans Member 1 are of similar geochronological age. PMID:8296872

  8. Unique Dental Morphology of Homo floresiensis and Its Evolutionary Implications

    PubMed Central

    Kaifu, Yousuke; Kono, Reiko T.; Sutikna, Thomas; Saptomo, Emanuel Wahyu; Jatmiko

    2015-01-01

    Homo floresiensis is an extinct, diminutive hominin species discovered in the Late Pleistocene deposits of Liang Bua cave, Flores, eastern Indonesia. The nature and evolutionary origins of H. floresiensis’ unique physical characters have been intensively debated. Based on extensive comparisons using linear metric analyses, crown contour analyses, and other trait-by-trait morphological comparisons, we report here that the dental remains from multiple individuals indicate that H. floresiensis had primitive canine-premolar and advanced molar morphologies, a combination of dental traits unknown in any other hominin species. The primitive aspects are comparable to H. erectus from the Early Pleistocene, whereas some of the molar morphologies are more progressive even compared to those of modern humans. This evidence contradicts the earlier claim of an entirely modern human-like dental morphology of H. floresiensis, while at the same time does not support the hypothesis that H. floresiensis originated from a much older H. habilis or Australopithecus-like small-brained hominin species currently unknown in the Asian fossil record. These results are however consistent with the alternative hypothesis that H. floresiensis derived from an earlier Asian Homo erectus population and experienced substantial body and brain size dwarfism in an isolated insular setting. The dentition of H. floresiensis is not a simple, scaled-down version of earlier hominins. PMID:26624612

  9. Early evidence of the genus Homo in East Asia.

    PubMed

    Zhu, R X; Potts, R; Pan, Y X; Yao, H T; Lü, L Q; Zhao, X; Gao, X; Chen, L W; Gao, F; Deng, C L

    2008-12-01

    The timing and route of the earliest dispersal from Africa to Eastern Asia are contentious topics in the study of early human evolution because Asian hominin fossil sites with precise age constraints are very limited. Here we report new high-resolution magnetostratigraphic results that place stringent age controls on excavated hominin incisors and stone tools from the Yuanmou Basin, southwest China. The hominin-bearing layer resides in a reverse polarity magnetozone just above the upper boundary of the Olduvai subchron, yielding an estimated age of 1.7Ma. The finding represents the age of the earliest documented presence of Homo, with affinities to Homo erectus, in mainland East Asia. This age estimate is roughly the same as for H. erectus in island Southeast Asia and immediately prior to the oldest archaeological evidence in northeast Asia. Mammalian fauna and pollen obtained directly from the hominin site indicate that the Yuanmou hominins lived in a varied habitat of open vegetation with patches of bushland and forest on an alluvial fan close to a lake or swamp. The age and location are consistent with a rapid southern migration route of initial hominin populations into Eastern Asia. PMID:18842287

  10. Unique Dental Morphology of Homo floresiensis and Its Evolutionary Implications.

    PubMed

    Kaifu, Yousuke; Kono, Reiko T; Sutikna, Thomas; Saptomo, Emanuel Wahyu; Jatmiko; Due Awe, Rokus

    2015-01-01

    Homo floresiensis is an extinct, diminutive hominin species discovered in the Late Pleistocene deposits of Liang Bua cave, Flores, eastern Indonesia. The nature and evolutionary origins of H. floresiensis' unique physical characters have been intensively debated. Based on extensive comparisons using linear metric analyses, crown contour analyses, and other trait-by-trait morphological comparisons, we report here that the dental remains from multiple individuals indicate that H. floresiensis had primitive canine-premolar and advanced molar morphologies, a combination of dental traits unknown in any other hominin species. The primitive aspects are comparable to H. erectus from the Early Pleistocene, whereas some of the molar morphologies are more progressive even compared to those of modern humans. This evidence contradicts the earlier claim of an entirely modern human-like dental morphology of H. floresiensis, while at the same time does not support the hypothesis that H. floresiensis originated from a much older H. habilis or Australopithecus-like small-brained hominin species currently unknown in the Asian fossil record. These results are however consistent with the alternative hypothesis that H. floresiensis derived from an earlier Asian Homo erectus population and experienced substantial body and brain size dwarfism in an isolated insular setting. The dentition of H. floresiensis is not a simple, scaled-down version of earlier hominins. PMID:26624612

  11. The Watinglo mandible: a second terminal Pleistocene Homo sapiens fossil from tropical Sahul with a test on existing models for the human settlement of the region.

    PubMed

    Bulbeck, D; O'Connor, S

    2011-02-01

    This paper analyses a fossil human mandible, dated to circa 10ka, from Watinglo rockshelter on the north coast of Papua New Guinea. The fossil is metrically and morphologically similar to male mandibles of recent Melanesians and Australian Aborigines. It is distinguished from Kow Swamp and Coobool Creek male mandibles (Murray Valley, terminal Pleistocene) by being smaller and having different shape characteristics, as well as smaller teeth and a slower rate of tooth wear. It pairs with the Liang Lemdubu female (Late Glacial Maximum, Aru Islands) in suggesting that the morphology of the terminal Pleistocene inhabitants of tropical Sahul was gracile compared to their contemporaries within the southern Murray drainage. An explanatory scenario for this morphological contrast is developed in the context of the Homo sapiens early fossil record, Australasian mtDNA evidence, terminal Pleistocene climatic variation, and the possibility of multiple entry points into Sahul. PMID:21216399

  12. Tooth enamel stable isotopes of Holocene and Pleistocene fossil fauna reveal glacial and interglacial paleoenvironments of hominins in Indonesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Janssen, Renée; Joordens, Josephine C. A.; Koutamanis, Dafne S.; Puspaningrum, Mika R.; de Vos, John; van der Lubbe, Jeroen H. J. L.; Reijmer, John J. G.; Hampe, Oliver; Vonhof, Hubert B.

    2016-07-01

    The carbon (δ13C) and oxygen (δ18O) isotope compositions of fossilized animal tissues have become important proxies of paleodiet and paleoenvironment, but such stable isotope studies have not yet been extensively applied to the fossil assemblages of Sundaland (the biogeographical region comprising most of the Indonesian Archipelago). Here, we use the isotope composition of tooth enamel to investigate the diet and habitat of bovids, cervids, and suids from several Holocene and Pleistocene sites on Java and Sumatra. Our carbon isotope results indicate that individual sites are strongly dominated by either C3-browsers or C4-grazers. Herbivores from the Padang Highlands (Sumatra) and Hoekgrot (Java) cave faunas were mainly C3-browsers, while herbivores from Homo erectus-bearing sites Trinil and Sangiran (Java) utilized an almost exclusive C4 diet. The suids from all sites show a wide range of δ13C values, corroborating their omnivorous diet. For the dataset as a whole, oxygen and carbon isotope values are positively correlated. This suggests that isotopic enrichment of rainwater and vegetation δ18O values coincides with an increase of C4-grasslands. We interpret this pattern to mainly reflect the environmental contrast between glacial (drier, more C4) and interglacial (wetter, more C3) conditions. Intermediate herbivore δ13C values indicating mixed C3/C4 feeding is relatively rare, which we believe to reflect the abruptness of the transition between glacial and interglacial precipitation regimes in Sundaland. For seven Homo erectus bone samples we were not able distinguish between diagenetic overprint and original isotope values, underlining the need to apply this isotopic approach to Homo erectus tooth enamel instead of bone. Importantly, our present results on herbivore and omnivore faunas provide the isotopic framework that will allow interpretation of such Homo erectus enamel isotope data.

  13. Disproportionate Cochlear Length in Genus Homo Shows a High Phylogenetic Signal during Apes' Hearing Evolution.

    PubMed

    Braga, J; Loubes, J-M; Descouens, D; Dumoncel, J; Thackeray, J F; Kahn, J-L; de Beer, F; Riberon, A; Hoffman, K; Balaresque, P; Gilissen, E

    2015-01-01

    Changes in lifestyles and body weight affected mammal life-history evolution but little is known about how they shaped species' sensory systems. Since auditory sensitivity impacts communication tasks and environmental acoustic awareness, it may have represented a deciding factor during mammal evolution, including apes. Here, we statistically measure the influence of phylogeny and allometry on the variation of five cochlear morphological features associated with hearing capacities across 22 living and 5 fossil catarrhine species. We find high phylogenetic signals for absolute and relative cochlear length only. Comparisons between fossil cochleae and reconstructed ape ancestral morphotypes show that Australopithecus absolute and relative cochlear lengths are explicable by phylogeny and concordant with the hypothetized ((Pan,Homo),Gorilla) and (Pan,Homo) most recent common ancestors. Conversely, deviations of the Paranthropus oval window area from these most recent common ancestors are not explicable by phylogeny and body weight alone, but suggest instead rapid evolutionary changes (directional selection) of its hearing organ. Premodern (Homo erectus) and modern human cochleae set apart from living non-human catarrhines and australopiths. They show cochlear relative lengths and oval window areas larger than expected for their body mass, two features corresponding to increased low-frequency sensitivity more recent than 2 million years ago. The uniqueness of the "hypertrophied" cochlea in the genus Homo (as opposed to the australopiths) and the significantly high phylogenetic signal of this organ among apes indicate its usefulness to identify homologies and monophyletic groups in the hominid fossil record. PMID:26083484

  14. Disproportionate Cochlear Length in Genus Homo Shows a High Phylogenetic Signal during Apes’ Hearing Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Braga, J.; Loubes, J-M.; Descouens, D.; Dumoncel, J.; Thackeray, J. F.; Kahn, J-L.; de Beer, F.; Riberon, A.; Hoffman, K.; Balaresque, P.; Gilissen, E.

    2015-01-01

    Changes in lifestyles and body weight affected mammal life-history evolution but little is known about how they shaped species’ sensory systems. Since auditory sensitivity impacts communication tasks and environmental acoustic awareness, it may have represented a deciding factor during mammal evolution, including apes. Here, we statistically measure the influence of phylogeny and allometry on the variation of five cochlear morphological features associated with hearing capacities across 22 living and 5 fossil catarrhine species. We find high phylogenetic signals for absolute and relative cochlear length only. Comparisons between fossil cochleae and reconstructed ape ancestral morphotypes show that Australopithecus absolute and relative cochlear lengths are explicable by phylogeny and concordant with the hypothetized ((Pan,Homo),Gorilla) and (Pan,Homo) most recent common ancestors. Conversely, deviations of the Paranthropus oval window area from these most recent common ancestors are not explicable by phylogeny and body weight alone, but suggest instead rapid evolutionary changes (directional selection) of its hearing organ. Premodern (Homo erectus) and modern human cochleae set apart from living non-human catarrhines and australopiths. They show cochlear relative lengths and oval window areas larger than expected for their body mass, two features corresponding to increased low-frequency sensitivity more recent than 2 million years ago. The uniqueness of the “hypertrophied” cochlea in the genus Homo (as opposed to the australopiths) and the significantly high phylogenetic signal of this organ among apes indicate its usefulness to identify homologies and monophyletic groups in the hominid fossil record. PMID:26083484

  15. Before the Emergence of Homo sapiens: Overview on the Early-to-Middle Pleistocene Fossil Record (with a Proposal about Homo heidelbergensis at the subspecific level)

    PubMed Central

    Manzi, Giorgio

    2011-01-01

    The origin of H. sapiens has deep roots, which include two crucial nodes: (1) the emergence and diffusion of the last common ancestor of later Homo (in the Early Pleistocene) and (2) the tempo and mode of the appearance of distinct evolutionary lineages (in the Middle Pleistocene). The window between 1,000 and 500 thousand years before present appears of crucial importance, including the generation of a new and more encephalised kind of humanity, referred to by many authors as H. heidelbergensis. This species greatly diversified during the Middle Pleistocene up to the formation of new variants (i.e., incipient species) that, eventually, led to the allopatric speciation of H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens. The special case furnished by the calvarium found near Ceprano (Italy), dated to 430–385 ka, offers the opportunity to investigate this matter from an original perspective. It is proposed to separate the hypodigm of a single, widespread, and polymorphic human taxon of the Middle Pleistocene into distinct subspecies (i.e., incipient species). The ancestral one should be H. heidelbergensis, including specimens such as Ceprano and the mandible from Mauer. PMID:21716742

  16. Subnasal morphological variation in fossil hominids: a reassessment based on new observations and recent developmental findings.

    PubMed

    McCollum, M A

    2000-06-01

    Quantitative and qualitative assessments of subnasal morphology in fossil hominids yield distinct patterns which have been used both to sort robust from nonrobust australopithecine taxa and to distinguish individual species. Recently, new developmental models have been applied to hominoid subnasal morphological variation. These studies require that certain features of the fossil hominid subnasal region, in particular the topography of the nasal cavity entrance and details of vomeral morphology, be reevaluated. This study does so for the robust and nonrobust australopithecines, early Homo (H. habilis/H. rudolfensis), and African H. erectus. Results reaffirm an overall similarity of the nonrobust Australopithecus subnasal morphological pattern with that of the chimpanzee. They further indicate that a vomeral insertion above the nasal surface of the premaxilla should be added to the list of traits characteristic of the robust australopithecine subnasal morphological pattern. Finally, reassessment of subnasal morphology in the early Homo and H. erectus samples from Africa suggest that these two taxa share a similar subnasal morphological pattern. This pattern consists of a smooth nasal cavity entrance, a horizontal nasal sill whose anterior edge is demarcated by a strong nasal crest, and a well-developed horizontal spine at the posterior edge of the nasal sill. Although none of the African fossil Homo specimens preserve a vomer, indirect evidence suggests that it would have inserted above the nasal sill. PMID:10813707

  17. Evolution of M1 crown size and cusp proportions in the genus Homo

    PubMed Central

    Quam, Rolf; Bailey, Shara; Wood, Bernard

    2009-01-01

    Previous research into tooth crown dimensions and cusp proportions has proved to be a useful way to identify taxonomic differences in Pliocene and Pleistocene fossil hominins. The present study has identified changes in both M1 crown size and cusp proportions within the genus Homo, with M1 overall crown size reduction apparently occurring in two main stages. The first stage (a reduction of ca. 17%) is associated with the emergence of Homo ergaster and Homo erectus sensu stricto. The second stage (a reduction of ca. 10%) occurs in Homo sapiens, but the reduced modern human M1 tooth crown size was only attained in Upper Paleolithic times. The absolute sizes of the individual cusps are highly positively correlated with overall crown size and dental reduction produces a reduction in the absolute size of each of the cusps. Most of the individual cusps scale isometrically with crown size, but the paracone shows a negative allometric relationship, indicating that the reduction in paracone size is less than in the other M1 cusps. Thus, the phylogenetically oldest cusp in the upper molars also seems to be the most stable cusp (at least in the M1). The most striking change in M1 cusp proportions is a change in the relative size of the areas of the paracone and metacone. The combination of a small relative paracone and a large relative metacone generally characterizes specimens attributed to early Homo, and the presence of this character state in Australopithecus andParanthropus suggests it may represent the primitive condition for the later part of the hominin clade. In contrast, nearly all later Homo taxa, with the exception of Homo antecessor, show the opposite condition (i.e. a relatively large paracone and a relatively small metacone). This change in the relationship between the relative sizes of the paracone and metacone is related to an isometric reduction of the absolute size of the metacone. This metacone reduction occurs in the context of relative stability in the

  18. Evolution of M1 crown size and cusp proportions in the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    Quam, Rolf; Bailey, Shara; Wood, Bernard

    2009-05-01

    Previous research into tooth crown dimensions and cusp proportions has proved to be a useful way to identify taxonomic differences in Pliocene and Pleistocene fossil hominins. The present study has identified changes in both M(1) crown size and cusp proportions within the genus Homo, with M(1) overall crown size reduction apparently occurring in two main stages. The first stage (a reduction of ca. 17%) is associated with the emergence of Homo ergaster and Homo erectus sensu stricto. The second stage (a reduction of ca. 10%) occurs in Homo sapiens, but the reduced modern human M(1) tooth crown size was only attained in Upper Paleolithic times. The absolute sizes of the individual cusps are highly positively correlated with overall crown size and dental reduction produces a reduction in the absolute size of each of the cusps. Most of the individual cusps scale isometrically with crown size, but the paracone shows a negative allometric relationship, indicating that the reduction in paracone size is less than in the other M(1) cusps. Thus, the phylogenetically oldest cusp in the upper molars also seems to be the most stable cusp (at least in the M(1)). The most striking change in M(1) cusp proportions is a change in the relative size of the areas of the paracone and metacone. The combination of a small relative paracone and a large relative metacone generally characterizes specimens attributed to early Homo, and the presence of this character state in Australopithecus and Paranthropus suggests it may represent the primitive condition for the later part of the hominin clade. In contrast, nearly all later Homo taxa, with the exception of Homo antecessor, show the opposite condition (i.e. a relatively large paracone and a relatively small metacone). This change in the relationship between the relative sizes of the paracone and metacone is related to an isometric reduction of the absolute size of the metacone. This metacone reduction occurs in the context of relative

  19. Affinities of the Swartkrans early Homo mandibles.

    PubMed

    Curnoe, Darren

    2008-01-01

    The southern African early Homo assemblage continues to make important contributions to understanding the systematics, adaptations and evolutionary history of the human genus. However, the taxonomy of this sample is in a state of flux. This study examines the size and shape of the mandibular bodies of Swartkrans SK 15 and SK 45 comparing them with variation in two early Homo taxa (H. habilis sensu lato and H. sapiens erectus). The research aims to clarify their phenetic affinities and systematics through univariate statistics, inferential testing and multivariate analysis employing size (Log-transformed) and shape (Mosimann variables). Neither of them strongly resembles H. habilis sensu lato or H. sapiens erectus, rather, they probably sample a novel species of Homo not seen in East Africa. Moreover, there is considerable morphological variability within the Swartkrans sample and the possibility of more than one novel species being sampled at this site cannot be excluded. PMID:18402959

  20. Age and biostratigraphic significance of the Punung Rainforest Fauna, East Java, Indonesia, and implications for Pongo and Homo.

    PubMed

    Westaway, K E; Morwood, M J; Roberts, R G; Rokus, A D; Zhao, J-x; Storm, P; Aziz, F; van den Bergh, G; Hadi, P; Jatmiko; de Vos, J

    2007-12-01

    The Punung Fauna is a key component in the biostratigraphic sequence of Java. It represents the most significant faunal turnover on the island in the last 1.5 million years, when Stegodon and other archaic mammal species characteristic of earlier Faunal stages were replaced by a fully modern fauna that included rainforest-dependent species such as Pongo pygmaeus (orangutan). Here, we report the first numerical ages for the Punung Fauna obtained by luminescence and uranium-series dating of the fossil-bearing deposits and associated flowstones. The Punung Fauna contained in the dated breccia is of early Last Interglacial age (between 128+/-15 and 118+/-3 ka). This result has implications for the age of the preceding Ngandong Fauna, including Homo erectus remains found in the Ngandong Terrace, and for the timing of Homo sapiens arrival in Southeast Asia, in view of claims for a modern human tooth associated with the Punung breccia. PMID:17706269

  1. Patterns of dental development in Homo, Australopithecus, Pan, and Gorilla.

    PubMed

    Smith, B H

    1994-07-01

    Smith ([1986] Nature 323:327-330) distinguished patterns of development of teeth of juvenile fossil hominids as being "more like humans" or "more like apes" based on statistical similarity to group standards. Here, this central tendency discrimination (CTD) is tested for its ability to recognize ape and human patterns of dental development in 789 subadult hominoids. Tooth development of a modern human sample (665 black southern Africans) was scored entirely by an outside investigator; pongid and fossil hominid samples (59 Pan, 50 Gorilla, and 14 fossil hominids) were scored by the author. The claim of Lampl et al. ([1993] Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 90:113-127) that Smith's 1986 method succeeds in only 8% of human cases was not sustained. Figures for overall success of classification (87% humans, 68% apes) mask important effects of teeth sampled and age class. For humans, the power of CTD varied between 53% and 92% depending on the number and kind of teeth available--nearly that of a coin toss when data described only two nearby teeth, but quite successful with more teeth or distant teeth. For apes, only age class affected accuracy: "Infant" apes (M1 development < or = root cleft complete, unemerged) were usually classed as humans, probably because the present developmental standard for great apes is in substantial error under 3 years of age. "Juvenile" apes (M1 > or = root 1/4), however, were correctly discriminated in 87% of cases. Overall, CTD can be considered reliable (accuracy of 92% for humans and 88% for apes) when data contrast development of distant dental fields and subjects are juveniles (not infants). Restricting analysis of fossils to specimens satisfying these criteria, patterns of dental development of gracile australopithecines and Homo habilis remain classified with African apes. Those of Homo erectus and Neanderthals are classified with humans, suggesting that patterns of growth evolved substantially in the Hominidae. To standardize future research

  2. Body mass estimates of hominin fossils and the evolution of human body size.

    PubMed

    Grabowski, Mark; Hatala, Kevin G; Jungers, William L; Richmond, Brian G

    2015-08-01

    Body size directly influences an animal's place in the natural world, including its energy requirements, home range size, relative brain size, locomotion, diet, life history, and behavior. Thus, an understanding of the biology of extinct organisms, including species in our own lineage, requires accurate estimates of body size. Since the last major review of hominin body size based on postcranial morphology over 20 years ago, new fossils have been discovered, species attributions have been clarified, and methods improved. Here, we present the most comprehensive and thoroughly vetted set of individual fossil hominin body mass predictions to date, and estimation equations based on a large (n = 220) sample of modern humans of known body masses. We also present species averages based exclusively on fossils with reliable taxonomic attributions, estimates of species averages by sex, and a metric for levels of sexual dimorphism. Finally, we identify individual traits that appear to be the most reliable for mass estimation for each fossil species, for use when only one measurement is available for a fossil. Our results show that many early hominins were generally smaller-bodied than previously thought, an outcome likely due to larger estimates in previous studies resulting from the use of large-bodied modern human reference samples. Current evidence indicates that modern human-like large size first appeared by at least 3-3.5 Ma in some Australopithecus afarensis individuals. Our results challenge an evolutionary model arguing that body size increased from Australopithecus to early Homo. Instead, we show that there is no reliable evidence that the body size of non-erectus early Homo differed from that of australopiths, and confirm that Homo erectus evolved larger average body size than earlier hominins. PMID:26094042

  3. Systematic assessment of a maxilla of Homo from Hadar, Ethiopia.

    PubMed

    Kimbel, W H; Johanson, D C; Rak, Y

    1997-06-01

    The Hadar site in Ethiopia is a prolific source of hominid fossils attributed to the species Australopithecus afarensis, which spans the period 3.4-3.0 million years (myr) in the Sidi Hakoma, Denen Dora and lower Kada Hadar Members of the Hadar Formation. Since 1992 a major focus of field work conducted at Hadar has centered on sediments younger than 3.0 myr, comprising the bulk of the Kada Hadar Member. Witnessing the rise of the "robust" Australopithecus clade(s), the origin of Homo, and the first record of lithic artifacts, the period between 3.0 and 2.0 myr is strategically vital for paleoanthropology. However, in eastern Africa it is a particularly poorly sampled temporal interval. This paper provides a detailed comparative description of a hominid maxilla with partial dentition found at Hadar in 1994. The specimen, A.L. 666-1, derives from a lithic artifact-bearing horizon high in the Kada Hadar Member, 0.8 m below the BKT-3 tephra, dated by the 40Ar/39Ar method to 2.33 +/- 0.07 myr. Our preliminary investigation of the hominid specimen showed unambiguous affinities with early representatives of the Homo clade (Kimbel et al. [1996] J. Hum. Evol. 31:549-561). Further studies on maxillary and dental morphology lead us to attribute A.L. 666-1 to Homo aff. H. habilis. The new Hadar jaw is the first paleontological evidence for the projection of the H. habilis maxillofacial morphotype well back into the Pliocene. It may represent a male of this species, whose maxillary hypodigm consists chiefly of females. A subsidiary finding of our study is that of the three earliest recorded species of Homo (H. habilis, H. rudolfensis, H. erectus), it is H. habilis that exhibits facial morphology closest to that expected in their last common ancestor. PMID:9209580

  4. The place of Homo floresiensis in human evolution.

    PubMed

    Baab, Karen

    2016-06-20

    Two main evolutionary scenarios have been proposed to explain the presence of the small-bodied and small-brained Homo floresiensis species on the remote Indonesian island of Flores in the Late Pleistocene. According to these two scenarios, H. floresiensis was a dwarfed descendent of H. erectus or a late-surviving remnant of a older lineage, perhaps descended from H. habilis. Each scenario has interesting and important implications for hominin biogeography, body size evolution, brain evolution and morphological convergences. Careful evaluation reveals that only a small number of characters support each of these scenarios uniquely. H. floresiensis exhibits a cranial shape and many cranial characters that appear to be shared derived traits with H. erectus, but postcranial traits are more primitive and resemble those of early Homo or even australopiths. Mandibular and dental traits show a mix of derived and primitive features. Unfortunately, many traits cannot be used to assess these two hypotheses because their distribution in H. erectus, early Homo (e.g., H. habilis), or both is unknown. H. erectus ancestry implies evolutionary convergence on a postcranial configuration similar to australopiths and early Homo, which could be explained by a return to more climbing behaviors. Body size reduction as well as brain size reduction on a scale only rarely documented in mammals would also accompany the origin of H. floresiensis from a H. erectus ancestor. H. habilis ancestry implies parallel evolution of numerous cranial characters, as well as a few dentognathic traits. A pre-H. erectus ancestry also suggests an early migration to Southeast Asia that is as yet undocumented in mainland Asia, but minimal body and brain size reduction. PMID:26829572

  5. Homo floresiensis: a cladistic analysis.

    PubMed

    Argue, D; Morwood, M J; Sutikna, T; Jatmiko; Saptomo, E W

    2009-11-01

    The announcement of a new species, Homo floresiensis, a primitive hominin that survived until relatively recent times is an enormous challenge to paradigms of human evolution. Until this announcement, the dominant paradigm stipulated that: 1) only more derived hominins had emerged from Africa, and 2) H. sapiens was the only hominin since the demise of Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis. Resistance to H. floresiensis has been intense, and debate centers on two sets of competing hypotheses: 1) that it is a primitive hominin, and 2) that it is a modern human, either a pygmoid form or a pathological individual. Despite a range of analytical techniques having been applied to the question, no resolution has been reached. Here, we use cladistic analysis, a tool that has not, until now, been applied to the problem, to establish the phylogenetic position of the species. Our results produce two equally parsimonious phylogenetic trees. The first suggests that H. floresiensis is an early hominin that emerged after Homo rudolfensis (1.86Ma) but before H. habilis (1.66Ma, or after 1.9Ma if the earlier chronology for H. habilis is retained). The second tree indicates H. floresiensis branched after Homo habilis. PMID:19628252

  6. Homo naledi, a new species of the genus Homo from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Berger, Lee R; Hawks, John; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Churchill, Steven E; Schmid, Peter; Delezene, Lucas K; Kivell, Tracy L; Garvin, Heather M; Williams, Scott A; DeSilva, Jeremy M; Skinner, Matthew M; Musiba, Charles M; Cameron, Noel; Holliday, Trenton W; Harcourt-Smith, William; Ackermann, Rebecca R; Bastir, Markus; Bogin, Barry; Bolter, Debra; Brophy, Juliet; Cofran, Zachary D; Congdon, Kimberly A; Deane, Andrew S; Dembo, Mana; Drapeau, Michelle; Elliott, Marina C; Feuerriegel, Elen M; Garcia-Martinez, Daniel; Green, David J; Gurtov, Alia; Irish, Joel D; Kruger, Ashley; Laird, Myra F; Marchi, Damiano; Meyer, Marc R; Nalla, Shahed; Negash, Enquye W; Orr, Caley M; Radovcic, Davorka; Schroeder, Lauren; Scott, Jill E; Throckmorton, Zachary; Tocheri, Matthew W; VanSickle, Caroline; Walker, Christopher S; Wei, Pianpian; Zipfel, Bernhard

    2015-01-01

    Homo naledi is a previously-unknown species of extinct hominin discovered within the Dinaledi Chamber of the Rising Star cave system, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa. This species is characterized by body mass and stature similar to small-bodied human populations but a small endocranial volume similar to australopiths. Cranial morphology of H. naledi is unique, but most similar to early Homo species including Homo erectus, Homo habilis or Homo rudolfensis. While primitive, the dentition is generally small and simple in occlusal morphology. H. naledi has humanlike manipulatory adaptations of the hand and wrist. It also exhibits a humanlike foot and lower limb. These humanlike aspects are contrasted in the postcrania with a more primitive or australopith-like trunk, shoulder, pelvis and proximal femur. Representing at least 15 individuals with most skeletal elements repeated multiple times, this is the largest assemblage of a single species of hominins yet discovered in Africa. PMID:26354291

  7. Relative limb strength and locomotion in Homo habilis.

    PubMed

    Ruff, Christopher

    2009-01-01

    The Homo habilis OH 62 partial skeleton has played an important, although controversial role in interpretations of early Homo locomotor behavior. Past interpretive problems stemmed from uncertain bone length estimates and comparisons using external bone breadth proportions, which do not clearly distinguish between modern humans and apes. Here, true cross-sectional bone strength measurements of the OH 62 femur and humerus are compared with those of modern humans and chimpanzees, as well as two early H. erectus specimens-KNM-WT 15000 and KNM-ER 1808. The comparative sections include two locations in the femur and two in the humerus in order to encompass the range of possible section positions in the OH 62 specimens. For each combination of section locations, femoral to humeral strength proportions of OH 62 fall below the 95% confidence interval of modern humans, and for most comparisons, within the 95% confidence interval of chimpanzees. In contrast, the two H. erectus specimens both fall within or even above the modern human distributions. This indicates that load distribution between the limbs, and by implication, locomotor behavior, was significantly different in H. habilis from that of H. erectus and modern humans. When considered with other postcranial evidence, the most likely interpretation is that H. habilis, although bipedal when terrestrial, still engaged in frequent arboreal behavior, while H. erectus was a completely committed terrestrial biped. This adds to the evidence that H. habilis (sensu stricto) and H. erectus represent ecologically distinct, parallel lineages during the early Pleistocene. PMID:18711733

  8. Mandibular shape analysis in fossil hominins: Fourier descriptors in norma lateralis.

    PubMed

    Lestrel, P E; Wolfe, C A; Bodt, A

    2013-08-01

    Biological shape can be defined as the boundary of a form in 2-space (R(2)). An earlier study (Lestrel et al., 2010, HOMO-J. Comp. Hum. Biol.) of the cranial vault found that there were statistically significant differences between each of the three groups: H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, and H. neanderthalensis compared with H. sapiens. In contrast, there was no statistically significant difference among the first three groups. These results suggest that these three groups may have formed single evolving lineage while H. sapiens represents a separate evolutionary development. The purpose of the current research was to discern if the mandible reflected a similar pattern as the cranial vault data. This study used lateral jpeg images of the mandible. Five fossil samples were used: A. robustus (n=7), H. erectus (n=12), H. heidelbergensis (n=4), H. neanderthalensis (n=22) and H. sapiens (n=61). Each mandible image was pre-processed with Photoshop Elements. Each image was then submitted to a specially written routine that digitized the 84 points along the mandible boundary. Each mandible was fitted with elliptical Fourier functions (EFFs). Procrustes superimposition was imposed to insure minimum shape differences. The mandible results largely mirrored the earlier cranial vault study with one exception. Statistically significant results were obtained for the mandible between the H. erectus and H. neanderthalensis samples in contrast to the earlier cranial vault data. F-tests disclosed that the statistical significance was limited to the anterior symphysis of the mandible. This mosaic pattern may be explained by the reduction in prognathism with the concomitant if rudimentary development of the chin as seen in H. neanderthalensis compared to H. erectus. PMID:23769600

  9. Extension rates and growth in tooth height of modern human and fossil hominin canines and molars.

    PubMed

    Dean, M Christopher

    2009-01-01

    The aim of this study was to describe similarities and differences in the way modern and fossil hominin teeth grow in height. Measurements from longitudinal ground sections of 7 modern human canines and 19 first permanent molars were used to calculate extension rates in the crowns and roots and to plot distance curves for growth in tooth height. These were compared with identical data for 3 fossil hominin teeth attributed respectively to Paranthropus robustus, Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis. Enamel extension rates in each of the three fossil taxa fell within the range of modern humans. Root extension rates in the fossil taxa also fell within modern human ranges but differed in their pattern with either an early or late marked increase in root length. Extension rates in the canine crowns were higher in cuspal enamel than in lateral enamel. Combinations of high or low cuspal enamel extension rates, with either longer or shorter times taken to form lateral enamel, explain how crown formation times may vary independently of completed crown heights. PMID:19828973

  10. What do cranial bones of LB1 tell us about Homo floresiensis?

    PubMed

    Balzeau, Antoine; Charlier, Philippe

    2016-04-01

    Cranial vault thickness (CVT) of Liang Bua 1, the specimen that is proposed to be the holotype of Homo floresiensis, has not yet been described in detail and compared with samples of fossil hominins, anatomically modern humans or microcephalic skulls. In addition, a complete description from a forensic and pathological point of view has not yet been carried out. It is important to evaluate scientifically if features related to CVT bring new information concerning the possible pathological status of LB1, and if it helps to recognize affinities with any hominin species and particularly if the specimen could belong to the species Homo sapiens. Medical examination of the skull based on a micro-CT examination clearly brings to light the presence of a sincipital T (a non-metrical variant of normal anatomy), a scar from an old frontal trauma without any evident functional consequence, and a severe bilateral hyperostosis frontalis interna that may have modified the anterior morphology of the endocranium of LB1. We also show that LB1 displays characteristics, related to the distribution of bone thickness and arrangements of cranial structures, that are plesiomorphic traits for hominins, at least for Homo erectus s.l. relative to Homo neanderthalensis and H. sapiens. All the microcephalic skulls analyzed here share the derived condition of anatomically modern H. sapiens. Cranial vault thickness does not help to clarify the definition of the species H. floresiensis but it also does not support an attribution of LB1 to H. sapiens. We conclude that there is no support for the attribution of LB1 to H. sapiens as there is no evidence of systemic pathology and because it does not have any of the apomorphic traits of our species. PMID:27086053

  11. Variation among early Homo crania from Olduvai Gorge and the Koobi Fora region.

    PubMed

    Rightmire, G P

    1993-01-01

    Fossils recognized as early Homo were discovered first at Olduvai Gorge in 1959 and 1960. Teeth, skull parts and hand bones representing three individuals were found in Bed I, and more material followed from Bed I and lower Bed II. By 1964, L.S.B. Leakey, P.V. Tobias, and J.R. Napier were ready to name Homo habilis. But almost as soon as they had, there was confusion over the hypodigm of the new species. Tobias himself suggested that OH 13 resembles Homo erectus from Java, and he noted that OH 16 has teeth as large as those of Australopithecus. By the early 1970s, however, Tobias had put these thoughts behind him and returned to the opinion that all of the Olduvai remains are Homo habilis. At about this time, important discoveries began to flow from the Koobi Fora region in Kenya. To most observers, crania such as KNM-ER 1470 confirmed the presence of Homo in East Africa at an early date. Some of the other specimens were problematical. A.C. Walker and R.E. Leakey raised the possibility that larger skulls including KNM-ER 1470 differ significantly from smaller-brained, small-toothed individuals such as KNM-ER 1813. Other workers emphasized that there are differences of shape as well as size among the hominids from Koobi Fora. There is now substantial support for the view that in the Turkana and perhaps also in the Olduvai assemblages, there is more variation than would be expected among male and female conspecifics. One way to approach this question of sorting would be to compare all of the new fossils against the original material from Olduvai which was used to characterize Homo habilis in 1964. A problem is that the Olduvai remains are fragmentary, and none of them provides much information about vault form or facial structure. An alternative is to work first with the better crania, even if these are from other sites. I have elected to treat KNM-ER 1470 and KNM-ER 1813 as key individuals. Comparisons are based on discrete anatomy and measurements. Metric results

  12. The many mysteries of Homo naledi.

    PubMed

    Stringer, Chris

    2015-01-01

    More than 1500 fossils from the Rising Star cave system in South Africa have been assigned to a new human species, Homo naledi, which displays a unique combination of primitive and derived traits throughout the skeleton. PMID:26354290

  13. The many mysteries of Homo naledi

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    More than 1500 fossils from the Rising Star cave system in South Africa have been assigned to a new human species, Homo naledi, which displays a unique combination of primitive and derived traits throughout the skeleton. PMID:26354290

  14. Five years of Homo floresiensis.

    PubMed

    Aiello, Leslie C

    2010-06-01

    Since Homo floresiensis was first described in October 2004 there has been a lively debate over its status. Is it a late surviving species of early Homo or merely a modern individual afflicted with disordered growth and one of the many syndromes resulting in microchephaly? Recently the discovery team has published a series of articles providing detailed descriptions of the hominin material, its geomorphological context, and the associated archaeology and faunal material (Morwood and Jungers: J Hum Evol 57 (2009) 437-648). In addition, other researchers have put forward new hypotheses for possible pathologies including Laron's Syndrome and Myxoedematous Endemic (ME) Cretinism. Here I review this new information and conclude that the evidence supports the hypothesis that Homo floresiensis is a late-surviving species of early Homo with its closest morphological affinities to early African pre-erectus/ergaster hominins. Although this hypothesis requires fundamental paradigm changes in our understanding of human evolution, it provides a more economical explanation for H. floresiensis than do the alternatives. None of the current explanations for microcephaly and disordered growth account for the range of features observed in H. floresiensis. Neither do they provide explanations for why a pathological condition in modern humans would mimic so closely the morphology observed in earlier hominins. This conclusion is based on the current evidence for H. floresiensis and on the particular pathological explanations that have appeared in the literature. There is no doubt that controversy over H. floresiensis will continue until new and conclusive evidence is available to settle the debate one way or another. PMID:20229502

  15. Comment on "A complete skull from Dmanisi, Georgia, and the evolutionary biology of early Homo".

    PubMed

    Schwartz, Jeffrey H; Tattersall, Ian; Chi, Zhang

    2014-04-25

    Lordkipanidze et al. (Research Article, 18 October 2013, p. 326) conclude, from gross morphological comparisons and geometric-morphometric analysis of general shape, that the five hominid crania from Dmanisi in Georgia represent a single regional variant of Homo erectus. However, dental, mandibular, and cranial morphologies all suggest taxic diversity and, in particular, validate the previously named H. georgicus. PMID:24763572

  16. Biomechanics of the hip and birth in early Homo.

    PubMed

    Ruff, C B

    1995-12-01

    A complex of traits in the femur and pelvis of Homo erectus and early "erectus-like" specimens has been described, but never satisfactorily explained. Here the functional relationships between pelvic and femoral structure in humans are explored using both theoretical biomechanical models and empirical tests within modern samples of diverse body form (Pecos Amerindians, East Africans). Results indicate that a long femoral neck increases mediolateral bending of the femoral diaphysis and decreases gluteal abductor and hip joint reaction forces. Increasing biacetabular breadth along with femoral neck length further increases M-L bending of the femoral shaft and maintains abductor and joint reaction forces at near "normal" levels. When compared to modern humans, Homo erectus and early "erectus-like" specimens are characterized by a long femoral neck and greatly increased M-L relative to A-P bending strength of the femoral shaft, coupled with no decrease in hip joint size and a probable increase in abductor force relative to body size. All of this strongly suggests that biacetabular breadth as well as femoral neck length was relatively large in early Homo. Several features preserved in early Homo partial hip bones also indicate that the true (lower) pelvis was very M-L broad, as well as A-P narrow. This is similar to the lower pelvic shape of australopithecines and suggests that nonrotational birth, in which the newborn's head is oriented transversely through the pelvic outlet, characterized early Homo as well as Australopithecus. Because M-L breadth of the pelvis is constrained by other factors, this may have limited increases in cranial capacity within Homo until rotational birth was established during the late Middle Pleistocene. During or after the transition to rotational birth biacetabular breadth decreased, reducing the body weight moment arm about the hip and allowing femoral neck length (abductor moment arm) to also decrease, both of which reduced M-L bending of

  17. Hominin cognitive evolution: identifying patterns and processes in the fossil and archaeological record

    PubMed Central

    Shultz, Susanne; Nelson, Emma; Dunbar, Robin I. M.

    2012-01-01

    As only limited insight into behaviour is available from the archaeological record, much of our understanding of historical changes in human cognition is restricted to identifying changes in brain size and architecture. Using both absolute and residual brain size estimates, we show that hominin brain evolution was likely to be the result of a mix of processes; punctuated changes at approximately 100 kya, 1 Mya and 1.8 Mya are supplemented by gradual within-lineage changes in Homo erectus and Homo sapiens sensu lato. While brain size increase in Homo in Africa is a gradual process, migration of hominins into Eurasia is associated with step changes at approximately 400 kya and approximately 100 kya. We then demonstrate that periods of rapid change in hominin brain size are not temporally associated with changes in environmental unpredictability or with long-term palaeoclimate trends. Thus, we argue that commonly used global sea level or Indian Ocean dust palaeoclimate records provide little evidence for either the variability selection or aridity hypotheses explaining changes in hominin brain size. Brain size change at approximately 100 kya is coincident with demographic change and the appearance of fully modern language. However, gaps remain in our understanding of the external pressures driving encephalization, which will only be filled by novel applications of the fossil, palaeoclimatic and archaeological records. PMID:22734056

  18. New magnetostratigraphy for the Olduvai Subchron in the Koobi Fora Formation, northwest Kenya, with implications for early Homo

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lepre, Christopher J.; Kent, Dennis V.

    2010-02-01

    A problematic magnetostratigraphy for the Koobi Fora Formation has contributed to debates on the evolutionary implications for early hominin fossils. To address this, 50 independent samples distributed over a nearly 63-m-thick interval were collected from the lower-middle KBS Member type section in fossil collection Area 102, northeast Turkana Basin. Characteristic directions obtained by thermal demagnetization define a coherent magnetostratigraphy that is supported by alternating-field studies on 28 sister specimens and the prior tephrochronological framework. Two long polarity intervals were recognized, each 30-40 m in thickness, and interpreted as the upper part of the normal polarity Olduvai Subchron and the overlying reverse polarity Matuyama Chron. The end Olduvai consists of a normal-reverse-normal polarity sequence occurring over a thickness of at least 1 m but perhaps up to 5 m, suggesting that this subchron has a short reverse interval in its uppermost part. Such a fine-scale structure also has been reported from several other sites, like the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary and point stratotype section at Vrica, Italy, which serves as a basis for formally delimiting three temporally discrete polarity subintervals for the Olduvai Subchron. These paleomagnetic results that place the upper boundary of the Olduvai at ˜ 48 m above the base of the KBS Member, coupled with published radioisotopic dates, firmly secure the age of partial cranium KNM-ER 3733 in the interval 1.78-1.48 Ma, with an interpolated age of ˜ 1.7 Ma, giving this fossil the most unambiguous numerical-age constraints, as compared to the oldest Homo cranial remains from Europe and Asia. Nonetheless, assured placement of the top of the Olduvai Subchron in the KBS Member is not sufficient in the face of other uncertainties to influence conventional interpretations of the timing and direction for the global dispersal of early Homo erectus.

  19. Homo naledi, a new species of the genus Homo from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa

    PubMed Central

    Berger, Lee R; Hawks, John; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Churchill, Steven E; Schmid, Peter; Delezene, Lucas K; Kivell, Tracy L; Garvin, Heather M; Williams, Scott A; DeSilva, Jeremy M; Skinner, Matthew M; Musiba, Charles M; Cameron, Noel; Holliday, Trenton W; Harcourt-Smith, William; Ackermann, Rebecca R; Bastir, Markus; Bogin, Barry; Bolter, Debra; Brophy, Juliet; Cofran, Zachary D; Congdon, Kimberly A; Deane, Andrew S; Dembo, Mana; Drapeau, Michelle; Elliott, Marina C; Feuerriegel, Elen M; Garcia-Martinez, Daniel; Green, David J; Gurtov, Alia; Irish, Joel D; Kruger, Ashley; Laird, Myra F; Marchi, Damiano; Meyer, Marc R; Nalla, Shahed; Negash, Enquye W; Orr, Caley M; Radovcic, Davorka; Schroeder, Lauren; Scott, Jill E; Throckmorton, Zachary; Tocheri, Matthew W; VanSickle, Caroline; Walker, Christopher S; Wei, Pianpian; Zipfel, Bernhard

    2015-01-01

    Homo naledi is a previously-unknown species of extinct hominin discovered within the Dinaledi Chamber of the Rising Star cave system, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa. This species is characterized by body mass and stature similar to small-bodied human populations but a small endocranial volume similar to australopiths. Cranial morphology of H. naledi is unique, but most similar to early Homo species including Homo erectus, Homo habilis or Homo rudolfensis. While primitive, the dentition is generally small and simple in occlusal morphology. H. naledi has humanlike manipulatory adaptations of the hand and wrist. It also exhibits a humanlike foot and lower limb. These humanlike aspects are contrasted in the postcrania with a more primitive or australopith-like trunk, shoulder, pelvis and proximal femur. Representing at least 15 individuals with most skeletal elements repeated multiple times, this is the largest assemblage of a single species of hominins yet discovered in Africa. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.09560.001 PMID:26354291

  20. Landmark-based shape analysis of the archaic Homo calvarium from Ceprano (Italy).

    PubMed

    Bruner, Emiliano; Manzi, Giorgio

    2007-03-01

    The Ceprano calvarium represents one of the most important sources of information about both the dynamics of the earliest hominid dispersal toward Europe and the evolution of the genus Homo in the early-to-middle Pleistocene. In this paper, the midsagittal vault profile and the 3D frontal bone morphology of Ceprano are investigated comparatively, using landmark coordinates and Procrustes superimposition. In fact, despite the fact that the skull appears partially distorted by diagenetic pressures (thus precluding a comprehensive landmark-based analysis), some aspects of the overall morphology are suitable for consideration in terms of geometric morphometrics. The midsagittal profile shows an archaic shape, comparable with the H. ergaster/erectus range of variation because of the fronto-parietal flattening, the development of the supraorbital and nuchal structures, and the occurrence of a slightly larger occipital bone. By contrast, the frontal bone displays a derived 3D shape that, mostly because of the widening of the frontal squama, appears comparable with the Afro-European variation of the Middle Pleistocene (i.e., H. heidelbergensis/rhodesiensis). Taking into account the unique morphological pattern displayed by Ceprano, its role as a link between early Homo and the Middle Pleistocene populations of Europe and Africa is not falsified. Thus, when aspects of the Ceprano's morphology are described within the analytical framework provided by geometric morphometrics, the relationships between Ceprano and the subsequent Afro-European fossil record are emphasized, suggesting the occurrence of an ancestral stock of H. heidelbergensis/rhodesiensis that is properly represented by the Italian specimen. PMID:17177181

  1. Early Homo and associated artefacts from Asia.

    PubMed

    Huang, W; Ciochon, R; Gu, Y; Larick, R; Qiren, F; Schwarcz, H; Yonge, C; de Vos, J; Rink, W

    1995-11-16

    The site of Longgupo Cave was discovered in 1984 and excavated in 1985-1988 by the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (Beijing) and the Chongqing National Museum (Sichuan Province). Important finds include very archaic hominid dental fragments, Gigantopithecus teeth and primitive stone tools. Palaeomagnetic analysis and the presence of Ailuropoda microta (pygmy giant panda) suggested that the hominid-bearing levels dated to the earliest Pleistocene. In 1992, joint Chinese-American-Canadian geochronological research corroborated the age using electron spin resonance (ESR) analysis. We report here that the hominid dentition and stone tools from Longgupo Cave are comparable in age and morphology with early representives of the genus Homo (H. habilis and H. ergaster) and the Oldowan technology in East Africa. The Longgupo dentition is demonstrably more primitive than that seen in Asian Homo erectus. Longgupo's diverse and well preserved Plio-Pleistocene fauna of 116 species provide a sensitive contextual base for interpreting the early arrival of the genus Homo in Asia. PMID:7477345

  2. The Homo floresiensis cranium (LB1): Size, scaling, and early Homo affinities

    PubMed Central

    Gordon, Adam D.; Nevell, Lisa; Wood, Bernard

    2008-01-01

    The skeletal remains of a diminutive small-brained hominin found in Late Pleistocene cave deposits on the island of Flores, Indonesia were assigned to a new species, Homo floresiensis [Brown P, et al. (2004) A new small-bodied hominin from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia. Nature 431: 1055–1061]. A dramatically different interpretation is that this material belongs not to a novel hominin taxon but to a population of small-bodied modern humans affected, or unaffected, by microcephaly. The debate has primarily focused on the size and shape of the endocranial cavity of the type specimen, LB1, with less attention being paid to the morphological evidence provided by the rest of the LB1 cranium and postcranium, and no study thus far has addressed the problem of how scaling would affect shape comparisons between a diminutive cranium like LB1 and the much larger crania of modern humans. We show that whether or not the effects of its small cranial size are accounted for, the external cranial morphology of the LB1 cranium cannot be accommodated within a large global sample of normal modern human crania. Instead, the shape of LB1, which is shown by multivariate analysis to differ significantly from that of modern humans, is similar to that of Homo erectus sensu lato, and, to a lesser extent, Homo habilis. Our results are consistent with hypotheses that suggest the Liang Bua specimens represent a diminutive population closely related to either early H. erectus s. l. from East Africa and/or Dmanisi or to H. habilis. PMID:18356300

  3. The Homo floresiensis cranium (LB1): size, scaling, and early Homo affinities.

    PubMed

    Gordon, Adam D; Nevell, Lisa; Wood, Bernard

    2008-03-25

    The skeletal remains of a diminutive small-brained hominin found in Late Pleistocene cave deposits on the island of Flores, Indonesia were assigned to a new species, Homo floresiensis [Brown P, et al. (2004) A new small-bodied hominin from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia. Nature 431: 1055-1061]. A dramatically different interpretation is that this material belongs not to a novel hominin taxon but to a population of small-bodied modern humans affected, or unaffected, by microcephaly. The debate has primarily focused on the size and shape of the endocranial cavity of the type specimen, LB1, with less attention being paid to the morphological evidence provided by the rest of the LB1 cranium and postcranium, and no study thus far has addressed the problem of how scaling would affect shape comparisons between a diminutive cranium like LB1 and the much larger crania of modern humans. We show that whether or not the effects of its small cranial size are accounted for, the external cranial morphology of the LB1 cranium cannot be accommodated within a large global sample of normal modern human crania. Instead, the shape of LB1, which is shown by multivariate analysis to differ significantly from that of modern humans, is similar to that of Homo erectus sensu lato, and, to a lesser extent, Homo habilis. Our results are consistent with hypotheses that suggest the Liang Bua specimens represent a diminutive population closely related to either early H. erectus s. l. from East Africa and/or Dmanisi or to H. habilis. PMID:18356300

  4. Phylogenetic rate shifts in feeding time during the evolution of Homo

    PubMed Central

    Organ, Chris; Nunn, Charles L.; Machanda, Zarin; Wrangham, Richard W.

    2011-01-01

    Unique among animals, humans eat a diet rich in cooked and nonthermally processed food. The ancestors of modern humans who invented food processing (including cooking) gained critical advantages in survival and fitness through increased caloric intake. However, the time and manner in which food processing became biologically significant are uncertain. Here, we assess the inferred evolutionary consequences of food processing in the human lineage by applying a Bayesian phylogenetic outlier test to a comparative dataset of feeding time in humans and nonhuman primates. We find that modern humans spend an order of magnitude less time feeding than predicted by phylogeny and body mass (4.7% vs. predicted 48% of daily activity). This result suggests that a substantial evolutionary rate change in feeding time occurred along the human branch after the human–chimpanzee split. Along this same branch, Homo erectus shows a marked reduction in molar size that is followed by a gradual, although erratic, decline in H. sapiens. We show that reduction in molar size in early Homo (H. habilis and H. rudolfensis) is explicable by phylogeny and body size alone. By contrast, the change in molar size to H. erectus, H. neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens cannot be explained by the rate of craniodental and body size evolution. Together, our results indicate that the behaviorally driven adaptations of food processing (reduced feeding time and molar size) originated after the evolution of Homo but before or concurrent with the evolution of H. erectus, which was around 1.9 Mya. PMID:21873223

  5. Phylogenetic rate shifts in feeding time during the evolution of Homo.

    PubMed

    Organ, Chris; Nunn, Charles L; Machanda, Zarin; Wrangham, Richard W

    2011-08-30

    Unique among animals, humans eat a diet rich in cooked and nonthermally processed food. The ancestors of modern humans who invented food processing (including cooking) gained critical advantages in survival and fitness through increased caloric intake. However, the time and manner in which food processing became biologically significant are uncertain. Here, we assess the inferred evolutionary consequences of food processing in the human lineage by applying a Bayesian phylogenetic outlier test to a comparative dataset of feeding time in humans and nonhuman primates. We find that modern humans spend an order of magnitude less time feeding than predicted by phylogeny and body mass (4.7% vs. predicted 48% of daily activity). This result suggests that a substantial evolutionary rate change in feeding time occurred along the human branch after the human-chimpanzee split. Along this same branch, Homo erectus shows a marked reduction in molar size that is followed by a gradual, although erratic, decline in H. sapiens. We show that reduction in molar size in early Homo (H. habilis and H. rudolfensis) is explicable by phylogeny and body size alone. By contrast, the change in molar size to H. erectus, H. neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens cannot be explained by the rate of craniodental and body size evolution. Together, our results indicate that the behaviorally driven adaptations of food processing (reduced feeding time and molar size) originated after the evolution of Homo but before or concurrent with the evolution of H. erectus, which was around 1.9 Mya. PMID:21873223

  6. Cladistic analysis of early Homo crania from Swartkrans and Sterkfontein, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Smith, Heather F; Grine, Frederick E

    2008-05-01

    The phylogenetic relationships of early Pleistocene Homo crania from the South African sites of Swartkrans and Sterkfontein were investigated through cladistic analyses of 99 morphological characters. The Swartkrans Member 1 specimen SK 847 and the Stw 53 cranium from Sterkfontein Member 5A were treated as separate operational taxonomic units (OTUs), distinct from the three species of early Homo-H. erectus, H. habilis, and H. rudolfensis-that are recognized from the Plio-Pleistocene deposits of East Africa. The cladistic analyses differed in the treatment of the South African OTUs (separate Swartkrans and Sterkfontein OTUs vs. a single Swartkrans+Sterkfontein OTU). PAUP 4.0 was used to construct cladograms and address hypotheses about relationships. In the analysis that treated the South African specimens as a single OTU, the position of that OTU was stable as a separate branch on the Homo clade between H. rudolfensis and [H. habilis+(H. erectus+H. sapiens)]. When SK 847 and Stw 53 were treated as separate OTUs, the majority of most parsimonious trees indicated that they were positioned in similar positions as the combined South African Homo OTU; that is, as separate branches between H. rudolfensis and [H. habilis+(H. erectus+H. sapiens)], with the Swartkrans OTU generally occupying a more derived position. The position of the Sterkfontein OTU was more stable than that of the Swartkrans OTU, which was found in several other positions among the minimum length trees. Running the analyses with only those characters preserved by SK 847 and Stw 53 resulted in similar topologies for minimum length trees, although the positions of Stw 53, SK 847, and H. habilis exchanged places in some trees. In no case was an exclusive sister relationship between either South African OTU and a particular species of Homo supported statistically. Both South African OTUs differ from H. habilis in the fewest number of cladistic characters. PMID:18289640

  7. A comparative study of frontal bone morphology among Pleistocene hominin fossil groups.

    PubMed

    Athreya, Sheela

    2009-12-01

    Features of the frontal bone that are conventionally used to distinguish among fossil hominin groups were quantitatively examined. Fifty-five fossil crania dating from the early to the late Pleistocene were analyzed. Using a modified pantograph, outlines of the frontal bone were collected along the midsagittal and two parasagittal planes. The profile from nasion to bregma, as well as two profiles above the medial and lateral sections of the orbit, respectively, extending from the orbital margin to the coronal suture were traced. The outlines were measured using Elliptical Fourier Function Analysis (EFFA), which enabled a quantification of aspects of the frontal bone that have historically been described primarily in nonmetric or linear terms. Four measurements were obtained: 1) overall morphology as expressed in the Fourier harmonic amplitudes; 2) maximum projection of the supraorbital torus at three points along the browridge (glabella and the medial and lateral aspects of the torus above the orbit); 3) maximum distance of the frontal squama from the frontal chord, capturing forehead curvature; and 4) nasion-bregma chord length. The results indicate that the midsagittal profile is significantly different among all Pleistocene groups in analyses that include both size and shape, as well as size-adjusted data. Homo erectus is significantly different from the late Pleistocene groups (Neandertals and early modern H. sapiens) in glabellar projection. Anatomically modern humans are significantly different from all other groups in both raw and size-standardized analyses of all three outlines that captured overall morphology, as well as forehead curvature and lateral supraorbital torus prominence, and middle Pleistocene Homo are significantly different in both medial and lateral overall parasagittal form. However, for the majority of analyses there were no significant differences among the Pleistocene archaic groups in supraorbital torus projection, frontal squama

  8. Craniometric ratios of microcephaly and LB1, Homo floresiensis, using MRI and endocasts

    PubMed Central

    Vannucci, Robert C.; Barron, Todd F.; Holloway, Ralph L.

    2011-01-01

    The designation of Homo floresiensis as a new species derived from an ancient population is controversial, because the type specimen, LB1, might represent a pathological microcephalic modern Homo sapiens. Accordingly, two specific craniometric ratios (relative frontal breadth and cerebellar protrusion) were ascertained in 21 microcephalic infants and children by using MRI. Data on 118 age-equivalent control (normocephalic) subjects were collected for comparative purposes. In addition, the same craniometric ratios were determined on the endocasts of 10 microcephalic individuals, 79 normal controls (anatomically modern humans), and 17 Homo erectus specimens. These ratios were then compared with those of two LB1 endocasts. The findings showed that the calculated cerebral/cerebellar ratios of the LB1 endocast [Falk D, et al. (2007) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104:2513–2518] fall outside the range of living normocephalic individuals. The ratios derived from two LB1 endocasts also fall largely outside the range of modern normal human and H. erectus endocasts and within the range of microcephalic endocasts. The findings support but do not prove the contention that LB1 represents a pathological microcephalic Homo sapiens rather than a new species, (i.e., H. floresiensis). PMID:21825126

  9. Variation in enamel thickness within the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    Smith, Tanya M; Olejniczak, Anthony J; Zermeno, John P; Tafforeau, Paul; Skinner, Matthew M; Hoffmann, Almut; Radovčić, Jakov; Toussaint, Michel; Kruszynski, Robert; Menter, Colin; Moggi-Cecchi, Jacopo; Glasmacher, Ulrich A; Kullmer, Ottmar; Schrenk, Friedemann; Stringer, Chris; Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2012-03-01

    Recent humans and their fossil relatives are classified as having thick molar enamel, one of very few dental traits that distinguish hominins from living African apes. However, little is known about enamel thickness in the earliest members of the genus Homo, and recent studies of later Homo report considerable intra- and inter-specific variation. In order to assess taxonomic, geographic, and temporal trends in enamel thickness, we applied micro-computed tomographic imaging to 150 fossil Homo teeth spanning two million years. Early Homo postcanine teeth from Africa and Asia show highly variable average and relative enamel thickness (AET and RET) values. Three molars from South Africa exceed Homo AET and RET ranges, resembling the hyper thick Paranthropus condition. Most later Homo groups (archaic European and north African Homo, and fossil and recent Homo sapiens) possess absolutely and relatively thick enamel across the entire dentition. In contrast, Neanderthals show relatively thin enamel in their incisors, canines, premolars, and molars, although incisor AET values are similar to H. sapiens. Comparisons of recent and fossil H. sapiens reveal that dental size reduction has led to a disproportionate decrease in coronal dentine compared with enamel (although both are reduced), leading to relatively thicker enamel in recent humans. General characterizations of hominins as having 'thick enamel' thus oversimplify a surprisingly variable craniodental trait with limited taxonomic utility within a genus. Moreover, estimates of dental attrition rates employed in paleodemographic reconstruction may be biased when this variation is not considered. Additional research is necessary to reconstruct hominin dietary ecology since thick enamel is not a prerequisite for hard-object feeding, and it is present in most later Homo species despite advances in technology and food processing. PMID:22361504

  10. Spatial and temporal variation of body size among early Homo.

    PubMed

    Will, Manuel; Stock, Jay T

    2015-05-01

    The estimation of body size among the earliest members of the genus Homo (2.4-1.5Myr [millions of years ago]) is central to interpretations of their biology. It is widely accepted that Homo ergaster possessed increased body size compared with Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, and that this may have been a factor involved with the dispersal of Homo out of Africa. The study of taxonomic differences in body size, however, is problematic. Postcranial remains are rarely associated with craniodental fossils, and taxonomic attributions frequently rest upon the size of skeletal elements. Previous body size estimates have been based upon well-preserved specimens with a more reliable species assessment. Since these samples are small (n < 5) and disparate in space and time, little is known about geographical and chronological variation in body size within early Homo. We investigate temporal and spatial variation in body size among fossils of early Homo using a 'taxon-free' approach, considering evidence for size variation from isolated and fragmentary postcranial remains (n = 39). To render the size of disparate fossil elements comparable, we derived new regression equations for common parameters of body size from a globally representative sample of hunter-gatherers and applied them to available postcranial measurements from the fossils. The results demonstrate chronological and spatial variation but no simple temporal or geographical trends for the evolution of body size among early Homo. Pronounced body size increases within Africa take place only after hominin populations were established at Dmanisi, suggesting that migrations into Eurasia were not contingent on larger body sizes. The primary evidence for these marked changes among early Homo is based upon material from Koobi Fora after 1.7Myr, indicating regional size variation. The significant body size differences between specimens from Koobi Fora and Olduvai support the cranial evidence for at least two co

  11. Megadontia, striae periodicity and patterns of enamel secretion in Plio-Pleistocene fossil hominins

    PubMed Central

    Lacruz, Rodrigo S; Dean, M Christopher; Ramirez-Rozzi, Fernando; Bromage, Timothy G

    2008-01-01

    Early hominins formed large and thick-enamelled cheek-teeth within relatively short growth periods as compared with modern humans. To understand better the developmental basis of this process, we measured daily enamel increments, or cross striations, in 17 molars of Plio-Pleistocene hominins representing seven different species, including specimens attributed to early Homo. Our results show considerable variation across species, although all specimens conformed to the known pattern characterised by greater values in outer than inner enamel, and greater cuspal than cervical values. We then compared our results with the megadontia index, which represents tooth size in relation to body mass, for each species to assess the effect of daily growth rates on tooth size. Our results indicate that larger toothed (megadont) taxa display higher rates or faster forming enamel than smaller toothed hominins. By forming enamel quickly, large tooth crowns were able to develop within the constraints of shorter growth periods. Besides daily increments, many animals express long-period markings (striae of Retzius) in their enamel. We report periodicity values (number of cross striations between adjacent striae) in 14 new specimens of Australopithecus afarensis, Paranthropus aethiopicus, Paranthropus boisei, Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus, and show that long-period striae express a strong association with male and average male–female body mass. Our results for Plio-Pleistocene hominins show that the biological rhythms that give rise to long-period striae are encompassed within the range of variation known for modern humans, but show a lower mean and modal value of 7 days in australopithecines. In our sample of early Homo, mean and modal periodicity values were 8 days, and therefore similar to modern humans. These new data on daily rates of enamel formation and periodicity provide a better framework to interpret surface manifestations of internal growth markings on

  12. Megadontia, striae periodicity and patterns of enamel secretion in Plio-Pleistocene fossil hominins.

    PubMed

    Lacruz, Rodrigo S; Dean, M Christopher; Ramirez-Rozzi, Fernando; Bromage, Timothy G

    2008-08-01

    Early hominins formed large and thick-enamelled cheek-teeth within relatively short growth periods as compared with modern humans. To understand better the developmental basis of this process, we measured daily enamel increments, or cross striations, in 17 molars of Plio-Pleistocene hominins representing seven different species, including specimens attributed to early Homo. Our results show considerable variation across species, although all specimens conformed to the known pattern characterised by greater values in outer than inner enamel, and greater cuspal than cervical values. We then compared our results with the megadontia index, which represents tooth size in relation to body mass, for each species to assess the effect of daily growth rates on tooth size. Our results indicate that larger toothed (megadont) taxa display higher rates or faster forming enamel than smaller toothed hominins. By forming enamel quickly, large tooth crowns were able to develop within the constraints of shorter growth periods. Besides daily increments, many animals express long-period markings (striae of Retzius) in their enamel. We report periodicity values (number of cross striations between adjacent striae) in 14 new specimens of Australopithecus afarensis, Paranthropus aethiopicus, Paranthropus boisei, Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus, and show that long-period striae express a strong association with male and average male-female body mass. Our results for Plio-Pleistocene hominins show that the biological rhythms that give rise to long-period striae are encompassed within the range of variation known for modern humans, but show a lower mean and modal value of 7 days in australopithecines. In our sample of early Homo, mean and modal periodicity values were 8 days, and therefore similar to modern humans. These new data on daily rates of enamel formation and periodicity provide a better framework to interpret surface manifestations of internal growth markings on

  13. Craniofacial morphology of Homo floresiensis: description, taxonomic affinities, and evolutionary implication.

    PubMed

    Kaifu, Yousuke; Baba, Hisao; Sutikna, Thomas; Morwood, Michael J; Kubo, Daisuke; Saptomo, E Wahyu; Jatmiko; Awe, Rokhus Due; Djubiantono, Tony

    2011-12-01

    This paper describes in detail the external morphology of LB1/1, the nearly complete and only known cranium of Homo floresiensis. Comparisons were made with a large sample of early groups of the genus Homo to assess primitive, derived, and unique craniofacial traits of LB1 and discuss its evolution. Principal cranial shape differences between H. floresiensis and Homo sapiens are also explored metrically. The LB1 specimen exhibits a marked reductive trend in its facial skeleton, which is comparable to the H. sapiens condition and is probably associated with reduced masticatory stresses. However, LB1 is craniometrically different from H. sapiens showing an extremely small overall cranial size, and the combination of a primitive low and anteriorly narrow vault shape, a relatively prognathic face, a rounded oval foramen that is greatly separated anteriorly from the carotid canal/jugular foramen, and a unique, tall orbital shape. Whereas the neurocranium of LB1 is as small as that of some Homo habilis specimens, it exhibits laterally expanded parietals, a weak suprameatal crest, a moderately flexed occipital, a marked facial reduction, and many other derived features that characterize post-habilis Homo. Other craniofacial characteristics of LB1 include, for example, a relatively narrow frontal squama with flattened right and left sides, a marked frontal keel, posteriorly divergent temporal lines, a posteriorly flexed anteromedial corner of the mandibular fossa, a bulbous lateral end of the supraorbital torus, and a forward protruding maxillary body with a distinct infraorbital sulcus. LB1 is most similar to early Javanese Homo erectus from Sangiran and Trinil in these and other aspects. We conclude that the craniofacial morphology of LB1 is consistent with the hypothesis that H. floresiensis evolved from early Javanese H. erectus with dramatic island dwarfism. However, further field discoveries of early hominin skeletal remains from Flores and detailed analyses of the

  14. The evolution of early Homo: a reply to Scott.

    PubMed

    Van Arsdale, A P; Wolpoff, M H

    2014-03-01

    Scott presents a welcome reply to our article, "A single lineage in early Pleistocene Homo" (Van Arsdale and Wolpoff ). However, Scott's reply mischaracterizes and fails to directly address the hypothesis of a single lineage that we test. Additionally, the approach taken by Scott fails to replicate the methods used in our analysis. As Scott himself suggests, our null hypothesis of a single evolving lineage in early Homo remains without refutation. Although many evolutionary scenarios might explain the complex pattern of variation present in the early Homo fossil record, the most parsimonious remains that of a single lineage displaying evolutionary change over time. PMID:24372272

  15. Brain size of Homo floresiensis and its evolutionary implications.

    PubMed

    Kubo, Daisuke; Kono, Reiko T; Kaifu, Yousuke

    2013-06-01

    The extremely small endocranial volume (ECV) of LB1, the type specimen of Homo floresiensis, poses a challenge in our understanding of human brain evolution. Some researchers hypothesize dramatic dwarfing of relative brain size from Homo erectus presumably without significant decrease in intellectual function, whereas others expect a lesser degree of brain diminution from a more primitive, small-brained form of hominin currently undocumented in eastern Asia. However, inconsistency in the published ECVs for LB1 (380-430 cc), unclear human intraspecific brain-body size scaling and other uncertainties have hampered elaborative modelling of its brain size reduction. In this study, we accurately determine the ECV of LB1 using high-resolution micro-CT scan. The ECV of LB1 thus measured, 426 cc, is larger than the commonly cited figure in previous studies (400 cc). Coupled with brain-body size correlation in Homo sapiens calculated based on a sample from 20 worldwide modern human populations, we construct new models of the brain size reduction in the evolution of H. floresiensis. The results show a more significant contribution of scaling effect than previously claimed. PMID:23595271

  16. Homo floresiensis and the evolution of the hominin shoulder.

    PubMed

    Larson, Susan G; Jungers, William L; Morwood, Michael J; Sutikna, Thomas; Jatmiko; Saptomo, E Wahyu; Due, Rokus Awe; Djubiantono, Tony

    2007-12-01

    The holotype of Homo floresiensis, diminutive hominins with tiny brains living until 12,000 years ago on the island of Flores, is a partial skeleton (LB1) that includes a partial clavicle (LB1/5) and a nearly complete right humerus (LB1/50). Although the humerus appears fairly modern in most regards, it is remarkable in displaying only 110 degrees of humeral torsion, well below modern human average values. Assuming a modern human shoulder configuration, such a low degree of humeral torsion would result in a lateral set to the elbow. Such an elbow joint would function more nearly in a frontal than in a sagittal plane, and this is certainly not what anyone would have predicted for a tool-making Pleistocene hominin. We argue that Homo floresiensis probably did not have a modern human shoulder configuration: the clavicle was relatively short, and we suggest that the scapula was more protracted, resulting in a glenoid fossa that faced anteriorly rather than laterally. A posteriorly directed humeral head was therefore appropriate for maintaining a normally functioning elbow joint. Similar morphology in the Homo erectus Nariokotome boy (KNM-WT 15000) suggests that this shoulder configuration may represent a transitional stage in pectoral girdle evolution in the human lineage. PMID:17692894

  17. Brain size of Homo floresiensis and its evolutionary implications

    PubMed Central

    Kubo, Daisuke; Kono, Reiko T.; Kaifu, Yousuke

    2013-01-01

    The extremely small endocranial volume (ECV) of LB1, the type specimen of Homo floresiensis, poses a challenge in our understanding of human brain evolution. Some researchers hypothesize dramatic dwarfing of relative brain size from Homo erectus presumably without significant decrease in intellectual function, whereas others expect a lesser degree of brain diminution from a more primitive, small-brained form of hominin currently undocumented in eastern Asia. However, inconsistency in the published ECVs for LB1 (380–430 cc), unclear human intraspecific brain–body size scaling and other uncertainties have hampered elaborative modelling of its brain size reduction. In this study, we accurately determine the ECV of LB1 using high-resolution micro-CT scan. The ECV of LB1 thus measured, 426 cc, is larger than the commonly cited figure in previous studies (400 cc). Coupled with brain–body size correlation in Homo sapiens calculated based on a sample from 20 worldwide modern human populations, we construct new models of the brain size reduction in the evolution of H. floresiensis. The results show a more significant contribution of scaling effect than previously claimed. PMID:23595271

  18. Development of the palatal size in Pan troglodytes, Hominids and Homo sapiens.

    PubMed

    Arnold, W H; Zoellner, A; Sebastian, T

    2004-12-01

    As the hard palate plays an important role in speech production it was the aim of this study whether similarities or dissimilarities in palatal size may allow conclusions about the ability to produce speech in the extant investigated species. The palatal size of Pan troglodytes, Homo sapiens, Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus robustus, Australopithecus boisei, Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalensis and Cro-Magnon has been investigated using euclidian distance matrix analysis (EDMA) and thin-plate-spline analysis. The results show that the palatal size of all australopithecine specimens and H. erectus is very similar to that of P toglodytes, whereas the palatal size of H. neanderthalensis more closely resembles that of H. sapiens. Postnatal development of palatal size in P troglodytes is different from that of H. sapiens. In P troglodytes not only the size of the palate changes but also the form. In H. sapiens there is little change in form, but a continuos uniform growth from infantile to adult specimens. From the results we conclude that in all australopithecine samples which have been investigated, the palatal size is similar to that of P troglodytes. Therefore, it is unlikely that austraopithecine individuals were capable of producing vowels and consonants. The palatal size of H. neandethalensis and Cro-Magnon is similar to that of H. sapiens which may indicate the possibility that they were capable of speech production. PMID:15646285

  19. The origin and evolution of Homo sapiens.

    PubMed

    Stringer, Chris

    2016-07-01

    If we restrict the use of Homo sapiens in the fossil record to specimens which share a significant number of derived features in the skeleton with extant H. sapiens, the origin of our species would be placed in the African late middle Pleistocene, based on fossils such as Omo Kibish 1, Herto 1 and 2, and the Levantine material from Skhul and Qafzeh. However, genetic data suggest that we and our sister species Homo neanderthalensis shared a last common ancestor in the middle Pleistocene approximately 400-700 ka, which is at least 200 000 years earlier than the species origin indicated from the fossils already mentioned. Thus, it is likely that the African fossil record will document early members of the sapiens lineage showing only some of the derived features of late members of the lineage. On that basis, I argue that human fossils such as those from Jebel Irhoud, Florisbad, Eliye Springs and Omo Kibish 2 do represent early members of the species, but variation across the African later middle Pleistocene/early Middle Stone Age fossils shows that there was not a simple linear progression towards later sapiens morphology, and there was chronological overlap between different 'archaic' and 'modern' morphs. Even in the late Pleistocene within and outside Africa, we find H. sapiens specimens which are clearly outside the range of Holocene members of the species, showing the complexity of recent human evolution. The impact on species recognition of late Pleistocene gene flow between the lineages of modern humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans is also discussed, and finally, I reconsider the nature of the middle Pleistocene ancestor of these lineages, based on recent morphological and genetic data.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. PMID:27298468

  20. Rethinking the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa.

    PubMed

    Groucutt, Huw S; Petraglia, Michael D; Bailey, Geoff; Scerri, Eleanor M L; Parton, Ash; Clark-Balzan, Laine; Jennings, Richard P; Lewis, Laura; Blinkhorn, James; Drake, Nick A; Breeze, Paul S; Inglis, Robyn H; Devès, Maud H; Meredith-Williams, Matthew; Boivin, Nicole; Thomas, Mark G; Scally, Aylwyn

    2015-01-01

    Current fossil, genetic, and archeological data indicate that Homo sapiens originated in Africa in the late Middle Pleistocene. By the end of the Late Pleistocene, our species was distributed across every continent except Antarctica, setting the foundations for the subsequent demographic and cultural changes of the Holocene. The intervening processes remain intensely debated and a key theme in hominin evolutionary studies. We review archeological, fossil, environmental, and genetic data to evaluate the current state of knowledge on the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa. The emerging picture of the dispersal process suggests dynamic behavioral variability, complex interactions between populations, and an intricate genetic and cultural legacy. This evolutionary and historical complexity challenges simple narratives and suggests that hybrid models and the testing of explicit hypotheses are required to understand the expansion of Homo sapiens into Eurasia. PMID:26267436

  1. Homo habilis's humanness: Phillip Tobias as a philosopher.

    PubMed

    Corbey, Raymond

    2012-01-01

    A detailed, interdisciplinary reading of Phillip Tobias's publications on Homo habilis shows how a philosophical notion of "humanness" has structured his interpretation of the fossils attributed to this species. The role of this notion in his research and its backgrounds in philosophy, disciplinary history, and a widespread mid-20th-century climate of opinion are analyzed and discussed. PMID:23272596

  2. Homo economicus belief inhibits trust.

    PubMed

    Xin, Ziqiang; Liu, Guofang

    2013-01-01

    As a foundational concept in economics, the homo economicus assumption regards humans as rational and self-interested actors. In contrast, trust requires individuals to believe partners' benevolence and unselfishness. Thus, the homo economicus belief may inhibit trust. The present three experiments demonstrated that the direct exposure to homo economicus belief can weaken trust. And economic situations like profit calculation can also activate individuals' homo economicus belief and inhibit their trust. It seems that people's increasing homo economicus belief may serve as one cause of the worldwide decline of trust. PMID:24146907

  3. Homo Economicus Belief Inhibits Trust

    PubMed Central

    Xin, Ziqiang; Liu, Guofang

    2013-01-01

    As a foundational concept in economics, the homo economicus assumption regards humans as rational and self-interested actors. In contrast, trust requires individuals to believe partners’ benevolence and unselfishness. Thus, the homo economicus belief may inhibit trust. The present three experiments demonstrated that the direct exposure to homo economicus belief can weaken trust. And economic situations like profit calculation can also activate individuals’ homo economicus belief and inhibit their trust. It seems that people’s increasing homo economicus belief may serve as one cause of the worldwide decline of trust. PMID:24146907

  4. The evolution and development of cranial form in Homo sapiens

    PubMed Central

    Lieberman, Daniel E.; McBratney, Brandeis M.; Krovitz, Gail

    2002-01-01

    Despite much data, there is no unanimity over how to define Homo sapiens in the fossil record. Here, we examine cranial variation among Pleistocene and recent human fossils by using a model of cranial growth to identify unique derived features (autapomorphies) that reliably distinguish fossils attributed to “anatomically modern” H. sapiens (AMHS) from those attributed to various taxa of “archaic” Homo spp. (AH) and to test hypotheses about the changes in cranial development that underlie the origin of modern human cranial form. In terms of pattern, AMHS crania are uniquely characterized by two general structural autapomorphies: facial retraction and neurocranial globularity. Morphometric analysis of the ontogeny of these autapomorphies indicates that the developmental changes that led to modern human cranial form derive from a combination of shifts in cranial base angle, cranial fossae length and width, and facial length. These morphological changes, some of which may have occurred because of relative size increases in the temporal and possibly the frontal lobes, occur early in ontogeny, and their effects on facial retraction and neurocranial globularity discriminate AMHS from AH crania. The existence of these autapomorphies supports the hypothesis that AMHS is a distinct species from taxa of “archaic” Homo (e.g., Homo neanderthalensis). PMID:11805284

  5. Cranial size variation and lineage diversity in early Pleistocene Homo.

    PubMed

    Scott, Jeremiah E

    2014-03-01

    A recent article in this journal concluded that a sample of early Pleistocene hominin crania assigned to genus Homo exhibits a pattern of size variation that is time dependent, with specimens from different time periods being more different from each other, on average, than are specimens from the same time period. The authors of this study argued that such a pattern is not consistent with the presence of multiple lineages within the sample, but rather supports the hypothesis that the fossils represent an anagenetically evolving lineage (i.e., an evolutionary species). However, the multiple-lineage models considered in that study do not reflect the multiple-species alternatives that have been proposed for early Pleistocene Homo. Using simulated data sets, I show that fossil assemblages that contain multiple lineages can exhibit the time-dependent pattern of variation specified for the single-lineage model under certain conditions, particularly when temporal overlap among fossil specimens attributed to the lineages is limited. These results do not reject the single-lineage hypothesis, but they do indicate that rejection of multiple lineages in the early Pleistocene Homo fossil record is premature, and that other sources of variation, such as differences in cranial shape, should be considered. PMID:24588348

  6. Hominin stature, body mass, and walking speed estimates based on 1.5 million-year-old fossil footprints at Ileret, Kenya.

    PubMed

    Dingwall, Heather L; Hatala, Kevin G; Wunderlich, Roshna E; Richmond, Brian G

    2013-06-01

    The early Pleistocene marks a period of major transition in hominin body form, including increases in body mass and stature relative to earlier hominins. However, because complete postcranial fossils with reliable taxonomic attributions are rare, efforts to estimate hominin mass and stature are complicated by the frequent albeit necessary use of isolated, and often fragmentary, skeletal elements. The recent discovery of 1.52 million year old hominin footprints from multiple horizons in Ileret, Kenya, provides new data on the complete foot size of early Pleistocene hominins as well as stride lengths and other characteristics of their gaits. This study reports the results of controlled experiments with habitually unshod Daasanach adults from Ileret to examine the relationships between stride length and speed, and also those between footprint size, body mass, and stature. Based on significant relationships among these variables, we estimate travel speeds ranging between 0.45 m/s and 2.2 m/s from the fossil hominin footprint trails at Ileret. The fossil footprints of seven individuals show evidence of heavy (mean = 50.0 kg; range: 41.5-60.3 kg) and tall individuals (mean = 169.5 cm; range: 152.6-185.8 cm), suggesting that these prints were most likely made by Homo erectus and/or male Paranthropus boisei. The large sizes of these footprints provide strong evidence that hominin body size increased during the early Pleistocene. PMID:23522822

  7. "Fossil" Forecasting.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brody, Michael J.; deOnis, Ann

    2001-01-01

    Presents a density study in which students calculate the density of limestone substrate to determine if the specimen contains any fossils. Explains how to make fossils and addresses national standards. (YDS)

  8. Human evolution. Evolution of early Homo: an integrated biological perspective.

    PubMed

    Antón, Susan C; Potts, Richard; Aiello, Leslie C

    2014-07-01

    Integration of evidence over the past decade has revised understandings about the major adaptations underlying the origin and early evolution of the genus Homo. Many features associated with Homo sapiens, including our large linear bodies, elongated hind limbs, large energy-expensive brains, reduced sexual dimorphism, increased carnivory, and unique life history traits, were once thought to have evolved near the origin of the genus in response to heightened aridity and open habitats in Africa. However, recent analyses of fossil, archaeological, and environmental data indicate that such traits did not arise as a single package. Instead, some arose substantially earlier and some later than previously thought. From ~2.5 to 1.5 million years ago, three lineages of early Homo evolved in a context of habitat instability and fragmentation on seasonal, intergenerational, and evolutionary time scales. These contexts gave a selective advantage to traits, such as dietary flexibility and larger body size, that facilitated survival in shifting environments. PMID:24994657

  9. Ten new microsatellite markers for the buttonwood mangrove (Conocarpus erectus L., Combretaceae).

    PubMed

    Nettel, Alejandro; Dodd, Richard S; Cid-Becerra, Jorge A; DE LA Rosa-Velez, Jorge

    2008-07-01

    We present 10 microsatellite markers for the buttonwood mangrove, Conocarpus erectus, a wide-range mangrove associate species. Polymorphism was assessed among individuals from six different populations along the Pacific Coast of Mexico and Costa Rica, as well as in two individuals from the Yucatan Peninsula in the Atlantic. The number of alleles detected in the Pacific ranged from two to five. All loci amplified in the Yucatan samples and seven loci revealed a unique Atlantic allele. These markers will be useful for studies in the conservation of the species and to study the basic biology of C. erectus. PMID:21585910

  10. Marquee Fossils

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clary, Renee; Wandersee, James

    2008-01-01

    Professors of an online graduate-level paleontology class developed the concept of marquee fossils--fossils that have one or more unique characteristics that capture the attention and direct observation of students. In the classroom, Marquee fossils integrate the geology, biology, and environmental science involved in the study of fossilized…

  11. Geometric properties and comparative biomechanics of Homo floresiensis mandibles.

    PubMed

    Daegling, David J; Patel, Biren A; Jungers, William L

    2014-03-01

    The hypodigm of Homo floresiensis from the cave of Liang Bua on Flores Island in the archipelago of Indonesia includes two mandibles (LB1/2 and LB6/1). The morphology of their symphyses and corpora has been described as sharing similarities with both australopiths and early Homo despite their Late Pleistocene age. Although detailed morphological comparisons of these mandibles with those of modern and fossil hominin taxa have been made, a functional analysis in the context of masticatory biomechanics has yet to be performed. Utilizing data on cortical bone geometry from computed tomography scans, we compare the mechanical attributes of the LB1 and LB6 mandibles with samples of modern Homo, Pan, Pongo, and Gorilla, as well as fossil samples of Paranthropus robustus, Australopithecus africanus and South African early Homo. Structural stiffness measures were derived from the geometric data to provide relative measures of mandibular corpus strength under hypothesized masticatory loading regimes. These mechanical variables were evaluated relative to bone area, mandibular length and estimates of body size to assess their functional affinities and to test the hypothesis that the Liang Bua mandibles can be described as scaled-down variants of either early hominins or modern humans. Relative to modern hominoids, the H. floresiensis material appears to be relatively strong in terms of rigidity in torsion and transverse bending, but is relatively weak under parasagittal bending. Thus, they are 'robust' relative to modern humans (and comparable with australopiths) under some loads but not others. Neither LB1 nor LB6 can be described simply as 'miniaturized' versions of modern human jaws since mandible length is more or less equivalent in Homo sapiens and H. floresiensis. The mechanical attributes of the Liang Bua mandibles are consistent with previous inferences that masticatory loads were reduced relative to australopiths but remained elevated relative to modern Homo. PMID

  12. Allometric scaling of infraorbital surface topography in Homo.

    PubMed

    Maddux, Scott D; Franciscus, Robert G

    2009-02-01

    Infraorbital morphology is often included in phylogenetic and functional analyses of Homo. The inclusion of distinct infraorbital configurations, such as the "canine fossa" in Homo sapiens or the "inflated" maxilla in Neandertals, is generally based on either descriptive or qualitative assessments of this morphology, or simple linear chord and subtense measurements. However, the complex curvilinear surface of the infraorbital region has proven difficult to quantify through these traditional methods. In this study, we assess infraorbital shape and its potential allometric scaling in fossil Homo (n=18) and recent humans (n=110) with a geometric morphometric method well-suited for quantifying complex surface topographies. Our results indicate that important aspects of infraorbital shape are correlated with overall infraorbital size across Homo. Specifically, individuals with larger infraorbital areas tend to exhibit relatively flatter infraorbital surface topographies, taller and narrower infraorbital areas, sloped inferior orbital rims, anteroinferiorly oriented maxillary body facies, posteroinferiorly oriented maxillary processes of the zygomatic, and non-everted lateral nasal margins. In contrast, individuals with smaller infraorbital regions generally exhibit relatively depressed surface topographies, shorter and wider infraorbital areas, projecting inferior orbital rims, posteroinferiorly oriented maxillary body facies, anteroinferiorly oriented maxillary processes, and everted lateral nasal margins. These contrasts form a continuum and only appear dichotomized at the ends of the infraorbital size spectrum. In light of these results, we question the utility of incorporating traditionally polarized infraorbital morphologies in phylogenetic and functional analyses without due consideration of continuous infraorbital and facial size variation in Homo. We conclude that the essentially flat infraorbital surface topography of Neandertals is not unique and can be

  13. Endurance running and the evolution of Homo.

    PubMed

    Bramble, Dennis M; Lieberman, Daniel E

    2004-11-18

    Striding bipedalism is a key derived behaviour of hominids that possibly originated soon after the divergence of the chimpanzee and human lineages. Although bipedal gaits include walking and running, running is generally considered to have played no major role in human evolution because humans, like apes, are poor sprinters compared to most quadrupeds. Here we assess how well humans perform at sustained long-distance running, and review the physiological and anatomical bases of endurance running capabilities in humans and other mammals. Judged by several criteria, humans perform remarkably well at endurance running, thanks to a diverse array of features, many of which leave traces in the skeleton. The fossil evidence of these features suggests that endurance running is a derived capability of the genus Homo, originating about 2 million years ago, and may have been instrumental in the evolution of the human body form. PMID:15549097

  14. Allometric patterns of cranial bone thickness in fossil hominids.

    PubMed

    Gauld, S C

    1996-07-01

    The interspecific allometry of five measures of total cranial bone thickness is examined in 10 extant catarrhine genera and two fossil hominid samples representing A. africanus and Asian H. erectus. Analysis of the modern sample shows that most interspecific variation in vault thickness can be accounted for by variation in body size. Correlation values are moderate to high (r = 0.75-0.98), and all variables exhibit positive allometry. The bone thickness: body mass relationship of modern humans broadly conforms with that of other primates. However, in the distribution of relative thickness throughout the skull, H. sapiens is distinguished by relative thickening of the parietal and extreme relative thinning of the temporal squama. The bone thickness: body mass relationship in the two early hominid species is examined using published mean body weight estimates generated from post-cranial predictor variables. A. africanus exhibits great similarity to modern humans in its relation to the catarrhine regression data and in the distribution of relative thickness throughout the skull. H. erectus also shows a modern human-like pattern in the distribution of its relative thickness; however, its bone thickness: body mass relationship is dissimilar to that displayed by all other taxa, including the other hominid species. On the basis of these results, it is suggested that the published body weight estimate assigned to H. erectus greatly underestimates actual mean body size for Asian members of this species. PMID:8798997

  15. Ediacara Fossils

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Science Teacher, 2005

    2005-01-01

    Now, a research team from Virginia Tech and Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology has discovered uniquely well-preserved fossil forms from 550-million-year-old rocks of the Ediacaran Period. The research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The discovery of these unusually preserved fossils reveals unprecedented…

  16. Fossil Fuels.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Crank, Ron

    This instructional unit is one of 10 developed by students on various energy-related areas that deals specifically with fossil fuels. Some topics covered are historic facts, development of fuels, history of oil production, current and future trends of the oil industry, refining fossil fuels, and environmental problems. Material in each unit may…

  17. Fossil Crinoids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hess, Hans; Ausich, William I.; Brett, Carlton E.; Simms, Michael J.

    2003-01-01

    Crinoids have graced the oceans for more than 500 million years. Among the most attractive fossils, crinoids had a key role in the ecology of marine communities through much of the fossil record, and their remains are prominent rock forming constituents of many limestones. This is the first comprehensive volume to bring together their form and function, classification, evolutionary history, occurrence, preservation and ecology. The main part of the book is devoted to assemblages of intact fossil crinoids, which are described in their geological setting in twenty-three chapters ranging from the Ordovician to the Tertiary. The final chapter deals with living sea lilies and feather stars. The volume is exquisitely illustrated with abundant photographs and line drawings of crinoids from sites around the world. This authoritative account recreates a fascinating picture of fossil crinoids for paleontologists, geologists, evolutionary and marine biologists, ecologists and amateur fossil collectors.

  18. Fossil Crinoids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hess, Hans; Ausich, William I.; Brett, Carlton E.; Simms, Michael J.

    1999-10-01

    Crinoids have graced the oceans for more than 500 million years. Among the most attractive fossils, crinoids had a key role in the ecology of marine communities through much of the fossil record, and their remains are prominent rock forming constituents of many limestones. This is the first comprehensive volume to bring together their form and function, classification, evolutionary history, occurrence, preservation and ecology. The main part of the book is devoted to assemblages of intact fossil crinoids, which are described in their geological setting in twenty-three chapters ranging from the Ordovician to the Tertiary. The final chapter deals with living sea lilies and feather stars. The volume is exquisitely illustrated with abundant photographs and line drawings of crinoids from sites around the world. This authoritative account recreates a fascinating picture of fossil crinoids for paleontologists, geologists, evolutionary and marine biologists, ecologists and amateur fossil collectors.

  19. Fossil spiders.

    PubMed

    Selden, Paul A; Penney, David

    2010-02-01

    Over the last three decades, the fossil record of spiders has increased from being previously biased towards Tertiary ambers and a few dubious earlier records, to one which reveals a much greater diversity in the Mesozoic, with many of the modern families present in that era, and with clearer evidence of the evolutionary history of the group. We here record the history of palaeoarachnology and the major breakthroughs which form the basis of studies on fossil spiders. Understanding the preservation and taphonomic history of spider fossils is crucial to interpretation of fossil spider morphology. We also review the more recent descriptions of fossil spiders and the effect these discoveries have had on the phylogenetic tree of spiders. We discuss some features of the evolutionary history of spiders and present ideas for future work. PMID:19961468

  20. In search of Homo economicus.

    PubMed

    Yamagishi, Toshio; Li, Yang; Takagishi, Haruto; Matsumoto, Yoshie; Kiyonari, Toko

    2014-09-01

    Homo economicus, a model for humans in neoclassical economics, is a rational maximizer of self-interest. However, many social scientists regard such a person as a mere imaginary creature. We found that 31 of 446 residents of relatively wealthy Tokyo suburbs met the behavioral definition of Homo economicus. In several rounds of economic games, participants whose behavior was consistent with this model always apportioned the money endowed by the experimenter to themselves, leaving no share for their partners. These participants had high IQs and a deliberative decision style. An additional 39 participants showed a similar disregard for other people's welfare, although they were slightly more altruistic than those in the Homo economicus group. The psychological composition of these quasi-Homo economicus participants was distinct from that of participants in the Homo economicus group. Although participants in the latter group behaved selfishly on the basis of rational calculations, those in the former group made selfish choices impulsively. The implications of these findings concerning the two types of extreme noncooperators are discussed. PMID:25037961

  1. Australopithecus sediba and the earliest origins of the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    Berger, Lee

    2012-01-01

    Discovered in 2008, the site of Malapa has yielded a remarkable assemblage of early hominin remains attributed to the species Australopithecus sediba. The species shows unexpected and unpredicted mosaicism in its anatomy. Several commentators have questioned the specific status of Au. sediba arguing that it does not exceed the variation of Au. africanus. This opinion however, does not take into account that Au. sediba differs from Au. africanus in both craniodental and postcranial characters to a greater degree than Au.africanus differs from Au. afarensis in these same characters. Au. sediba has also been questioned as a potential ancestor of the genus Homo due to the perception that earlier specimens of the genus have been found than the c198 Ma date of the Malapa sample. This opinion however, does not take into account either the poor condition of these fossils, as well as the numerous problems with both the criteria used to associate them with the genus Homo, nor the questionable provenance of each of these specimens. This argument also does not acknowledge that Malapa is almost certainly not the first chronological appearance of Au. sediba, it is only the first known fossil occurrence. Au. sediba should therefore be considered a strong potential candidate ancestor of the genus Homo until better preserved specimens are discovered that would refute such a hypothesis. PMID:23011933

  2. Additional evidence for morpho-dimensional tooth crown variation in a New Indonesian H. erectus sample from the Sangiran Dome (Central Java).

    PubMed

    Zanolli, Clément

    2013-01-01

    This contribution reports fifteen human fossil dental remains found during the last two decades in the Sangiran Dome area, in Central Java, Indonesia. Among this sample, only one of the specimens had already been briefly described, with the other fourteen remaining unreported. Seven of the fifteen isolated teeth were found in a secured stratigraphic context in the late Lower-early Middle Pleistocene Kabuh Formation. The remaining elements were surface finds which, based on coincidental sources of information, were inferred as coming from the Kabuh Formation. Mainly constituted of permanent molars, but also including one upper incisor and one upper premolar, this dental sample brings additional evidence for a marked degree of size variation and time-related structural reduction in Javanese H. erectus. This is notably expressed by a significant decrease of the mesiodistal diameter, frequently associated to the reduction or even loss of the lower molar distal cusp (hypoconulid) and to a more square occlusal outline. In addition to the hypoconulid reduction or loss, this new sample also exhibits a low frequency of the occlusal Y-groove pattern, with a dominance of the X and, to a lesser extent, of the+patterns. This combination is rare in the Lower and early Middle Pleistocene paleoanthropological record, including in the early Javanese dental assemblage from the Sangiran Dome. On the other hand, similar dental features are found in Chinese H. erectus and in H. heidelbergensis. As a whole, this new record confirms the complex nature of the intermittent exchanges that occurred between continental and insular Southeast Asia through the Pleistocene. PMID:23843996

  3. Additional Evidence for Morpho-Dimensional Tooth Crown Variation in a New Indonesian H. erectus Sample from the Sangiran Dome (Central Java)

    PubMed Central

    Zanolli, Clément

    2013-01-01

    This contribution reports fifteen human fossil dental remains found during the last two decades in the Sangiran Dome area, in Central Java, Indonesia. Among this sample, only one of the specimens had already been briefly described, with the other fourteen remaining unreported. Seven of the fifteen isolated teeth were found in a secured stratigraphic context in the late Lower-early Middle Pleistocene Kabuh Formation. The remaining elements were surface finds which, based on coincidental sources of information, were inferred as coming from the Kabuh Formation. Mainly constituted of permanent molars, but also including one upper incisor and one upper premolar, this dental sample brings additional evidence for a marked degree of size variation and time-related structural reduction in Javanese H. erectus. This is notably expressed by a significant decrease of the mesiodistal diameter, frequently associated to the reduction or even loss of the lower molar distal cusp (hypoconulid) and to a more square occlusal outline. In addition to the hypoconulid reduction or loss, this new sample also exhibits a low frequency of the occlusal Y-groove pattern, with a dominance of the X and, to a lesser extent, of the+patterns. This combination is rare in the Lower and early Middle Pleistocene paleoanthropological record, including in the early Javanese dental assemblage from the Sangiran Dome. On the other hand, similar dental features are found in Chinese H. erectus and in H. heidelbergensis. As a whole, this new record confirms the complex nature of the intermittent exchanges that occurred between continental and insular Southeast Asia through the Pleistocene. PMID:23843996

  4. Australopithecus sediba at 1.977 Ma and implications for the origins of the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    Pickering, Robyn; Dirks, Paul H G M; Jinnah, Zubair; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Churchil, Steven E; Herries, Andy I R; Woodhead, Jon D; Hellstrom, John C; Berger, Lee R

    2011-09-01

    Newly exposed cave sediments at the Malapa site include a flowstone layer capping the sedimentary unit containing the Australopithecus sediba fossils. Uranium-lead dating of the flowstone, combined with paleomagnetic and stratigraphic analysis of the flowstone and underlying sediments, provides a tightly constrained date of 1.977 ± 0.002 million years ago (Ma) for these fossils. This refined dating suggests that Au. sediba from Malapa predates the earliest uncontested evidence for Homo in Africa. PMID:21903808

  5. Variability in first Homo: Analysis of the ratio between the skulls KNM-ER 1470 and KNM-ER 1813 based on sexual dimorphism of Homo sapiens.

    PubMed

    Guimarães, S W Ferreira; Lorenzo, C

    2015-10-01

    The study of the skulls KNM-ER 1470 and KNM-ER 1813, considered the first members of the genus Homo, has raised some debates. While some of researchers maintain that there is only one species, another group argues that there are two species. On one hand these two fossils are still taxonomically undetermined, on the other hand they bring up another problem related to the existence of a genus with multiple species since its beginning, according to the last discoveries. In this paper, we have compared the size ratio between these fossils with ratios established in populations of Homo sapiens, in order to know if they fit into the human standard, considering intra-sexual and inter-sexual variation. Results help to establish whether these fossils correspond to different species or their differences could be related to sexual dimorphism within a single species. PMID:26092693

  6. The Emergence of Homo sapiens.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rensberger, Boyce

    1980-01-01

    Describes chronologically the evolution of the human race on earth so as to refute Darwin's theory of descent from animals. Skull fragments from sites around the world suggest at least two possible routes toward the emergence of Homo sapiens sapiens. (Author/SK)

  7. A bivariate approach to the widening of the frontal lobes in the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    Bruner, Emiliano; Holloway, Ralph L

    2010-02-01

    Within the genus Homo, the most encephalized taxa (Neandertals and modern humans) show relatively wider frontal lobes than either Homo erectus or australopithecines. The present analysis considers whether these changes are associated with a single size-based or allometric pattern (positive allometry of the width of the anterior endocranial fossa) or with a more specific and non-allometric pattern. The relationship between hemispheric length, maximum endocranial width, and frontal width at Broca's area was investigated in extant and extinct humans. Our results do not support positive allometry for the frontal lobe's width in relation to the main endocranial diameters within modern humans (Homo sapiens). Also, the correlation between frontal width and hemispheric length is lower than the correlation between frontal width and parieto-temporal width. When compared with the australopithecines, the genus Homo could have experienced a non-allometric widening of the brain at the temporo-parietal areas, which is most evident in Neandertals. Modern humans and Neandertals also display a non-allometric widening of the anterior endocranial fossa at the Broca's cap when compared with early hominids, again more prominent in the latter group. Taking into account the contrast between the intra-specific patterns and the between-species differences, the relative widening of the anterior fossa can be interpreted as a definite evolutionary character instead of a passive consequence of brain size increase. This expansion is most likely associated with correspondent increments of the underlying neural mass, or at least with a geometrical reallocation of the frontal cortical volumes. Although different structural changes of the cranial architecture can be related to such variations, the widening of the frontal areas is nonetheless particularly interesting when some neural functions (like language or working memory, decision processing, etc.) and related fronto-parietal cortico

  8. Fossil Horses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacFadden, Bruce J.

    1994-06-01

    The family Equidae have an extensive fossil record spanning the past 58 million years, and the evolution of the horse has frequently been used as a classic example of long-term evolution. In recent years, however, there have been many important discoveries of fossil horses, and these, in conjunction with such new methods as cladistics, and techniques such as precise geochronology, have allowed us to achieve a much greater understanding of the evolution and biology of this important group. This book synthesizes the large body of data and research relevant to an understanding of fossil horses from several disciplines including biology, geology and paleontology. Using horses as the central theme, the author weaves together in the text such topics as modern geochronology, paleobiogeography, climate change, evolution and extinction, functional morphology, and population biology during the Cenozoic period. This book will be exciting reading for researchers and graduate students in vertebrate paleontology, evolution, and zoology.

  9. The dispersal of Homo sapiens across southern Asia: how early, how often, how complex?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dennell, Robin; Petraglia, Michael D.

    2012-07-01

    The timing and the paths of colonization of southern Asia by Homo sapiens are poorly known, though many population geneticists, paleoanthropologists, and archaeologists have contended that this process began with dispersal from East Africa, and occurred between 60,000 and 40,000 years ago. However, the evidence for this scenario is very weak, particularly the lack of human skeletal evidence between the Levant and Borneo before 40 ka, and other explanations are possible. Here we argue that environmental and archaeological information is increasingly indicating the likelihood that H. sapiens exited Africa much earlier than commonly thought, and may have colonized much of southern Asia well before 60,000 years ago. Additionally, we cannot exclude the possibility that several dispersal events occurred, from both North and East Africa, nor the likelihood that early populations of H. sapiens in southern Asia interbred with indigenous populations of Neanderthals, Denisovans and Homo erectus. The population history of southern Asia during the Upper Pleistocene is likely far more complex than currently envisaged.

  10. Elastic energy storage in the shoulder and the evolution of high-speed throwing in Homo.

    PubMed

    Roach, Neil T; Venkadesan, Madhusudhan; Rainbow, Michael J; Lieberman, Daniel E

    2013-06-27

    Some primates, including chimpanzees, throw objects occasionally, but only humans regularly throw projectiles with high speed and accuracy. Darwin noted that the unique throwing abilities of humans, which were made possible when bipedalism emancipated the arms, enabled foragers to hunt effectively using projectiles. However, there has been little consideration of the evolution of throwing in the years since Darwin made his observations, in part because of a lack of evidence of when, how and why hominins evolved the ability to generate high-speed throws. Here we use experimental studies of humans throwing projectiles to show that our throwing capabilities largely result from several derived anatomical features that enable elastic energy storage and release at the shoulder. These features first appear together approximately 2 million years ago in the species Homo erectus. Taking into consideration archaeological evidence suggesting that hunting activity intensified around this time, we conclude that selection for throwing as a means to hunt probably had an important role in the evolution of the genus Homo. PMID:23803849

  11. The foot of Homo naledi.

    PubMed

    Harcourt-Smith, W E H; Throckmorton, Z; Congdon, K A; Zipfel, B; Deane, A S; Drapeau, M S M; Churchill, S E; Berger, L R; DeSilva, J M

    2015-01-01

    Modern humans are characterized by a highly specialized foot that reflects our obligate bipedalism. Our understanding of hominin foot evolution is, although, hindered by a paucity of well-associated remains. Here we describe the foot of Homo naledi from Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa, using 107 pedal elements, including one nearly-complete adult foot. The H. naledi foot is predominantly modern human-like in morphology and inferred function, with an adducted hallux, an elongated tarsus, and derived ankle and calcaneocuboid joints. In combination, these features indicate a foot well adapted for striding bipedalism. However, the H. naledi foot differs from modern humans in having more curved proximal pedal phalanges, and features suggestive of a reduced medial longitudinal arch. Within the context of primitive features found elsewhere in the skeleton, these findings suggest a unique locomotor repertoire for H. naledi, thus providing further evidence of locomotor diversity within both the hominin clade and the genus Homo. PMID:26439101

  12. The foot of Homo naledi

    PubMed Central

    Harcourt-Smith, W. E. H.; Throckmorton, Z.; Congdon, K. A.; Zipfel, B.; Deane, A. S.; Drapeau, M. S. M.; Churchill, S. E.; Berger, L. R.; DeSilva, J. M.

    2015-01-01

    Modern humans are characterized by a highly specialized foot that reflects our obligate bipedalism. Our understanding of hominin foot evolution is, although, hindered by a paucity of well-associated remains. Here we describe the foot of Homo naledi from Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa, using 107 pedal elements, including one nearly-complete adult foot. The H. naledi foot is predominantly modern human-like in morphology and inferred function, with an adducted hallux, an elongated tarsus, and derived ankle and calcaneocuboid joints. In combination, these features indicate a foot well adapted for striding bipedalism. However, the H. naledi foot differs from modern humans in having more curved proximal pedal phalanges, and features suggestive of a reduced medial longitudinal arch. Within the context of primitive features found elsewhere in the skeleton, these findings suggest a unique locomotor repertoire for H. naledi, thus providing further evidence of locomotor diversity within both the hominin clade and the genus Homo. PMID:26439101

  13. Antioxidant and antiacetylcholine esterase potential of aerial parts of Conocarpus erectus, Ficus variegata and Ficus maclellandii.

    PubMed

    Raza, Muhammad Asam; Anwar, Farwa; Shahwar, Durre; Majeed, Abdul; Mumtaz, Muhammad Waseem; Danish, Muhammad; Nazar, Muhammad Faizan; Perveen, Irum; Khan, Salah Ud-Din

    2016-03-01

    The current study was designed to check the antioxidant and enzyme inhibition potential of various extracts/ fractions of three selected plants. The aerial parts of Conocarpus erectus (Combretaceae), Ficus variegata (Moraceae) and Ficus maclellandii (Moraceae) were extracted with ethanol (95%) and the resulting crude extracts were partitioned with n-hexane, chloroform and n-butanol successively. Folin-Ciocalteu reagent was used to calculate the total phenolic contents, flavonoids contents were calculated with aluminum chloride while antioxidant and enzyme studies were carried out through standard protocols. All extracts/fractions contained reasonable amount of phenolic compounds ranging from 0.58-58.23 mg CE/g of DW and 0.43-30.56 mg GAE/g of DW. Total flavonoids were determined using rutin and quercetin standards, ranging from 2.65-18.2 mg rutin equivalent/g of dry weight and 0.92-5.41 mg quercetin equivalent/g of dry weight. Antioxidant studies such as DPPH inhibition FRAP and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) was checked. The crude ethanolic extract of C. erectus showed maximum antiradical scavenging power (90.43%; IC50=7 μg) and ferric reducing antioxidant power (16.5 μM eq.FeSO4.7H2O), respectively while leave extract of F. variegata (chloroform) was the most active (0.6577) in TAC among other extracts of the selected medicinal plants. Butanolic leave extract of C. erectus exhibited maximum enzyme inhibition activity (91.62% with IC50 40 μg/ml) while other extracts showed significant activity. It was observed from results that all extracts/fractions of under consideration plants, exhibited significant bioactivities especially ethanolic and butanolic fractions, which may be the richest source of such type of activities. PMID:27087094

  14. An integrated study of the Homo-bearing Aalat stratigraphic section (Eritrea): An expanded continental record at the Early-Middle Pleistocene transition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ghinassi, Massimiliano; Oms, Oriol; Papini, Mauro; Scarciglia, Fabio; Carnevale, Giorgio; Sani, Federico; Rook, Lorenzo; Delfino, Massimo; Pavia, Marco; Libsekal, Yosief; Bondioli, Luca; Coppa, Alfredo; Frayer, David W.; Macchiarelli, Roberto

    2015-12-01

    to Middle Pleistocene East African mammalian assemblage for this age and is dominated by taxa characterized by strong water dependence. The ichthyofauna, with its abundant Clariidae, is also consistent with the shallow water, fluvio-lacustrine paleobiotopes. The cranial, dental and postcranial human remains from the lower part of the Aalat succession add valuable evidence about the patterns of variation and evolutionary dynamics in African Homo erectus/ergaster near the end of the Early Pleistocene.

  15. A new species of myxosporean (Sphaeromyxidae), a parasite of lined seahorses, Hippocampus erectus, from the Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Sears, B F; Anderson, P; Greiner, E C

    2011-08-01

    Sphaeromyxa cannolii sp. n. is described from the bile ducts of aquaria-maintained lined seahorses (Hippocampus erectus) from the Gulf of Mexico. Spores of the new species are linear, 17-18 µm long and 5-6 µm wide, with flattened tips; polar capsules measure 4 × 3 µm. Routine necropsies of H. erectus following planned death revealed liver inflammation, bile duct obstruction, bile accumulation, and myxozoan parasites in the bile ducts of 11 of 40 animals sampled (27.5%). The presence of S. cannolii in an aquaculture setting should prompt keepers to carefully quarantine new animals and exclude annelid fauna, a potential intermediate host of myxozoans. PMID:21506813

  16. The status of Homo heidelbergensis (Schoetensack 1908).

    PubMed

    Stringer, Chris

    2012-05-01

    The species Homo heidelbergensis is central to many discussions about recent human evolution. For some workers, it was the last common ancestor for the subsequent species Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis; others regard it as only a European form, giving rise to the Neanderthals. Following the impact of recent genomic studies indicating hybridization between modern humans and both Neanderthals and "Denisovans", the status of these as separate taxa is now under discussion. Accordingly, clarifying the status of Homo heidelbergensis is fundamental to the debate about modern human origins. PMID:22718477

  17. Dermatitis and systemic mycosis in lined seahorses Hippocampus erectus associated with a marine-adapted Fusarium solani species complex pathogen

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    During a 4 month epizootic, 100% of 152 lined seahorses Hippocampus erectus in three separate groups died while in quarantine following shipment to a public aquarium. Twelve animals with skin depigmentation and ulceration were received by the Aquatic Pathology Service, University of Georgia, College...

  18. A geometric morphometric study of a Middle Pleistocene cranium from Hexian, China.

    PubMed

    Cui, Yaming; Wu, Xinzhi

    2015-11-01

    The Hexian calvarium is one of the most complete and well-preserved Homo erectus fossils ever found in east Asia, apart from the Zhoukoudian specimens. Various methods bracket the age of the Hexian fossil to between 150 and 412 ka (thousands of years ago). The Hexian calvarium has been considered to be H. erectus given its morphological similarities to Zhoukoudian and Javan H. erectus. However, discussion continues regarding the affinities of the Hexian specimen with other H. erectus fossils. The arguments mainly focus on its relationships to other Asian H. erectus fossils, including those from both China and Java. To better determine the affinities of the Hexian cranium, our study used 3D landmark and semilandmark geometric morphometric techniques and multivariate statistical analyses to quantify the shape of the neurocranium and to compare the Hexian cranium to other H. erectus specimens. The results of this study confirmed the morphological similarities between Hexian and Chinese H. erectus in overall morphology, and particularly in the structure of the frontal bone and the posterior part of the neurocranium. Although the Hexian specimen shows the strongest connection to Chinese H. erectus, the morphology of the lateral neurocranium resembles early Indonesian H. erectus specimens, possibly suggesting shared common ancestry or gene flow from early Indonesian populations. Overall cranial and frontal bone morphology are strongly influenced by geography. Although geographically intermediate between Zhoukoudian and Indonesian H. erectus, the Hexian specimen does not form part of an obvious morphological gradient with regard to overall cranial shape. PMID:26553818

  19. The hand of Homo naledi.

    PubMed

    Kivell, Tracy L; Deane, Andrew S; Tocheri, Matthew W; Orr, Caley M; Schmid, Peter; Hawks, John; Berger, Lee R; Churchill, Steven E

    2015-01-01

    A nearly complete right hand of an adult hominin was recovered from the Rising Star cave system, South Africa. Based on associated hominin material, the bones of this hand are attributed to Homo naledi. This hand reveals a long, robust thumb and derived wrist morphology that is shared with Neandertals and modern humans, and considered adaptive for intensified manual manipulation. However, the finger bones are longer and more curved than in most australopiths, indicating frequent use of the hand during life for strong grasping during locomotor climbing and suspension. These markedly curved digits in combination with an otherwise human-like wrist and palm indicate a significant degree of climbing, despite the derived nature of many aspects of the hand and other regions of the postcranial skeleton in H. naledi. PMID:26441219

  20. The hand of Homo naledi

    PubMed Central

    Kivell, Tracy L.; Deane, Andrew S.; Tocheri, Matthew W.; Orr, Caley M.; Schmid, Peter; Hawks, John; Berger, Lee R.; Churchill, Steven E.

    2015-01-01

    A nearly complete right hand of an adult hominin was recovered from the Rising Star cave system, South Africa. Based on associated hominin material, the bones of this hand are attributed to Homo naledi. This hand reveals a long, robust thumb and derived wrist morphology that is shared with Neandertals and modern humans, and considered adaptive for intensified manual manipulation. However, the finger bones are longer and more curved than in most australopiths, indicating frequent use of the hand during life for strong grasping during locomotor climbing and suspension. These markedly curved digits in combination with an otherwise human-like wrist and palm indicate a significant degree of climbing, despite the derived nature of many aspects of the hand and other regions of the postcranial skeleton in H. naledi. PMID:26441219

  1. Antiproliferative Scalarane-Based Metabolites from the Red Sea Sponge Hyrtios erectus

    PubMed Central

    Elhady, Sameh S.; Al-Abd, Ahmed M.; El-Halawany, Ali M.; Alahdal, Abdulrahman M.; Hassanean, Hashim A.; Ahmed, Safwat A.

    2016-01-01

    Two new sesterterpenes analogs, namely, 12-acetoxy,16-epi-hyrtiolide (1) and 12β-acetoxy,16β-methoxy,20α-hydroxy-17-scalaren-19,20-olide (2), containing a scalarane-based framework along with seven previously reported scalarane-type sesterterpenes (3–9) have been isolated from the sponge Hyrtios erectus (order Dictyoceratida) collected from the Red Sea, Egypt. The structures of the isolated compounds were elucidated on the basis of their spectroscopic data and comparison with reported NMR data. Compounds 1–9 exhibited considerable antiproliferative activity against breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7), colorectal carcinoma (HCT-116) and hepatocellular carcinoma cells (HepG2). Compounds 3, 5 and 9 were selected for subsequent investigations regarding their mechanism of cell death induction (differential apoptosis/necrosis assessment) and their influence on cell cycle distribution. PMID:27399730

  2. Antiproliferative Scalarane-Based Metabolites from the Red Sea Sponge Hyrtios erectus.

    PubMed

    Elhady, Sameh S; Al-Abd, Ahmed M; El-Halawany, Ali M; Alahdal, Abdulrahman M; Hassanean, Hashim A; Ahmed, Safwat A

    2016-01-01

    Two new sesterterpenes analogs, namely, 12-acetoxy,16-epi-hyrtiolide (1) and 12β-acetoxy,16β-methoxy,20α-hydroxy-17-scalaren-19,20-olide (2), containing a scalarane-based framework along with seven previously reported scalarane-type sesterterpenes (3-9) have been isolated from the sponge Hyrtios erectus (order Dictyoceratida) collected from the Red Sea, Egypt. The structures of the isolated compounds were elucidated on the basis of their spectroscopic data and comparison with reported NMR data. Compounds 1-9 exhibited considerable antiproliferative activity against breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7), colorectal carcinoma (HCT-116) and hepatocellular carcinoma cells (HepG2). Compounds 3, 5 and 9 were selected for subsequent investigations regarding their mechanism of cell death induction (differential apoptosis/necrosis assessment) and their influence on cell cycle distribution. PMID:27399730

  3. Are the oldest 'fossils', fossils

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schopf, J. W.

    1976-01-01

    A comparative statistical study has been carried out on populations of modern algae, Precambrian algal microfossils, the 'organized elements' of the Orgueil carbonaceous meteorite, and the oldest microfossil-like objects now known (spheroidal bodies from the Fig Tree and Onverwacht Groups of the Swaziland Supergroup, South Africa). The distribution patterns exhibited by the more than 3000 m.y.-old Swaziland microstructures bear considerable resemblance to those of the abiotic 'organized elements' but differ rather markedly from those exhibited by younger, assuredly biogenic, populations. Based on these comparisons, it is concluded that the Swaziland spheroids could be, at least in part, of nonbiologic origin; these oldest known fossil-like microstructures should not be regarded as constituting firm evidence of Archean life.

  4. Australopithecus sediba: a new species of Homo-like australopith from South Africa.

    PubMed

    Berger, Lee R; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Churchill, Steven E; Schmid, Peter; Carlson, Kristian J; Dirks, Paul H G M; Kibii, Job M

    2010-04-01

    Despite a rich African Plio-Pleistocene hominin fossil record, the ancestry of Homo and its relation to earlier australopithecines remain unresolved. Here we report on two partial skeletons with an age of 1.95 to 1.78 million years. The fossils were encased in cave deposits at the Malapa site in South Africa. The skeletons were found close together and are directly associated with craniodental remains. Together they represent a new species of Australopithecus that is probably descended from Australopithecus africanus. Combined craniodental and postcranial evidence demonstrates that this new species shares more derived features with early Homo than any other australopith species and thus might help reveal the ancestor of that genus. PMID:20378811

  5. The human genus.

    PubMed

    Wood, B; Collard, M

    1999-04-01

    A general problem in biology is how to incorporate information about evolutionary history and adaptation into taxonomy. The problem is exemplified in attempts to define our own genus, Homo. Here conventional criteria for allocating fossil species to Homo are reviewed and are found to be either inappropriate or inoperable. We present a revised definition, based on verifiable criteria, for Homo and conclude that two species, Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, do not belong in the genus. The earliest taxon to satisfy the criteria is Homo ergaster, or early African Homo erectus, which currently appears in the fossil record at about 1.9 million years ago. PMID:10102822

  6. Will My Fossil Float?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Riesser, Sharon; Airey, Linda

    1993-01-01

    Explains how young students can be introduced to fossils. Suggests books to read and science activities including "Fossils to Eat" where students make fossils from peanut butter, honey, and powdered milk. (PR)

  7. Pleistocene soil development and paleoenvironmental dynamics in East Africa: a multidisciplinary study of the Homo-bearing Aalat succession, Dandiero Basin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scarciglia, Fabio; Mercatante, Giuseppe; Donato, Paola; Ghinassi, Massimiliano; Carnevale, Giorgio; Delfino, Massimo; Oms, Oriol; Papini, Mauro; Pavia, Marco; Sani, Federico; Rook, Lorenzo

    2015-04-01

    Pleistocene environmental changes in East Africa, largely documented by deep marine or lacustrine records correlated with inland high-resolution, Homo-bearing stratigraphic successions, have been so far interpreted as a major cause of faunal dispersal and human evolution. However, only few studies focused on reconstruction of paleoenvironmental dynamics from continental successions, given the usually poor continuity and extension of stratigraphic records. In this work we report on a multidisciplinary study of the Early to Middle Pleistocene sedimentary fill of the Dandiero Basin (Eritrean Danakil), a morpho-tectonic depression in the East African Rift System, which represents the only continental stratigraphy including human remains of Homo erectus/ergaster and abundant fossil vertebrates in the northernmost sector of this region. Sedimentological, pedological, volcanological and paleontological investigations were performed on the Aalat section, located in the northern part of the Dandiero Basin, as tools for an integrated reconstruction of the Early-Middle Pleistocene transition in East Africa. This section is almost 300 m thick and records repeated shifts from fluvial to deltaic and lacustrine depositional environments, as a response to local tectonic activity and climate changes. Sedimentary facies distribution and paleocurrent data show that sedimentation was controlled by a NS-trending axial drainage. Some tephra layers were identified both at the bottom and the top of the section, whereas two main fossiliferous layers were detected in its lower part. Terrestrial vertebrate faunas include a typical Early to Middle Pleistocene East African mammalian assemblage, where taxa characterized by strong water dependence prevail. Also the ichthyofauna is consistent with the shallow water fluvio-lacustrine paleobiotopes. High-quality paleomagnetic analyses, integrated with radiometric dating and vertebrate paleontology, allowed to substantiate the chronological

  8. The Homo Energeticus: maturity, inheritance, identity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mason, Arthur

    2013-03-01

    In this letter, modern society’s intimate bond to the convenience and reliability of delivered energy services results in a form of identification I call the Homo Energeticus. The Homo Energeticus relies upon a mature system of services for achieving an equivalency of status and prestige that is historically similar to the morality of a noble class. I describe the uniqueness of this identity by its imperative for acquiring experience through an invisibility of energy expenditures. In this way, the Homo Energeticus cultivates a highly individualized life whose ambience of perfection, while created personally, is only successful insofar as it conceals energy expenditures in labor and supply.

  9. Early hominin diversity and the emergence of the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    Harcourt-Smith, William

    2016-06-20

    Bipedalism is a defining trait of hominins, as all members of the clade are argued to possess at least some characters indicative of this unusual form of locomotion. Traditionally the evolution of bipedalism has been treated in a somewhat linear way. This has been challenged in the last decade or so, and in this paper I consider this view in light of the considerable new fossil hominin discoveries of the last few years. It is now apparent that there was even more locomotor diversity and experimentation across hominins than previously thought, and with the discovery of taxa such as H. floresiensis and H. naledi, that diversity continues well into the genus Homo. Based on these findings,we need to reevaluate how we define members of the genus Homo, at least when considering postcranial morphology, and accept that the evolution of hominin bipedalism was a complex and messy affair. It is within that context that the modern human form of bipedal locomotion emerged. PMID:27124766

  10. Geometric morphometric analysis of the crown morphology of the lower first premolar of hominins, with special attention to Pleistocene Homo.

    PubMed

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; Martinón-Torres, María; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Prado, Leyre; Sarmiento, Susana; Arsuaga, Juan Luis

    2008-10-01

    This article is the third of a series that explores hominin dental crown morphology by means of geometric morphometrics. After the analysis of the lower second premolar and the upper first molar crown shapes, we apply the same technique to lower first premolar morphology. Our results show a clear distinction between the morphology seen in earlier hominin taxa such as Australopithecus and African early Homo, as well as Asian H. erectus, and more recent groups such as European H. heidelbergensis, H. neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens. The morphology of the earlier hominins includes an asymmetrical outline, a conspicuous talonid, and an occlusal polygon that tends to be large. The morphology of the recent hominins includes a symmetrical outline and a reduced or absent talonid. Within this later group, premolars belonging to H. heidelbergensis and H. neanderthalensis tend to possess a small and mesiolingually-displaced occlusal polygon, whereas H. sapiens specimens usually present expanded and centered occlusal polygons in an almost circular outline. The morphological differences among Paranthropus, Australopithecus, and African early Homo as studied here are small and evolutionarily less significant compared to the differences between the earlier and later homin taxa. In contrast to the lower second premolar and the upper first molar crown, the inclusion of a larger hominin sample of lower first premolars reveals a large allometric component. PMID:18639917

  11. Elastic energy storage in the shoulder and the evolution of high-speed throwing in Homo

    PubMed Central

    Roach, Neil T.; Venkadesan, Madhusudhan; Rainbow, Michael J.; Lieberman, Daniel E.

    2013-01-01

    Although some primates, including chimpanzees, throw objects occasionally1,2, only humans regularly throw projectiles with high speed and great accuracy. Darwin noted that humans’ unique throwing abilities, made possible when bipedalism emancipated the arms, enabled foragers to effectively hunt using projectiles3. However, there has been little consideration of the evolution of throwing in the years since Darwin made his observations, in part because of a lack of evidence on when, how, and why hominins evolved the ability to generate high-speed throws4-8. Here, we show using experimental studies of throwers that human throwing capabilities largely result from several derived anatomical features that enable elastic energy storage and release at the shoulder. These features first appear together approximately two million years ago in the species Homo erectus. Given archaeological evidence that suggests hunting activity intensified around this time9, we conclude that selection for throwing in order to hunt likely played an important role in the evolution of the human genus. PMID:23803849

  12. Geological and taphonomic context for the new hominin species Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Dirks, Paul H G M; Berger, Lee R; Roberts, Eric M; Kramers, Jan D; Hawks, John; Randolph-Quinney, Patrick S; Elliott, Marina; Musiba, Charles M; Churchill, Steven E; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Schmid, Peter; Backwell, Lucinda R; Belyanin, Georgy A; Boshoff, Pedro; Hunter, K Lindsay; Feuerriegel, Elen M; Gurtov, Alia; Harrison, James du G; Hunter, Rick; Kruger, Ashley; Morris, Hannah; Makhubela, Tebogo V; Peixotto, Becca; Tucker, Steven

    2015-01-01

    We describe the physical context of the Dinaledi Chamber within the Rising Star cave, South Africa, which contains the fossils of Homo naledi. Approximately 1550 specimens of hominin remains have been recovered from at least 15 individuals, representing a small portion of the total fossil content. Macro-vertebrate fossils are exclusively H. naledi, and occur within clay-rich sediments derived from in situ weathering, and exogenous clay and silt, which entered the chamber through fractures that prevented passage of coarser-grained material. The chamber was always in the dark zone, and not accessible to non-hominins. Bone taphonomy indicates that hominin individuals reached the chamber complete, with disarticulation occurring during/after deposition. Hominins accumulated over time as older laminated mudstone units and sediment along the cave floor were eroded. Preliminary evidence is consistent with deliberate body disposal in a single location, by a hominin species other than Homo sapiens, at an as-yet unknown date. PMID:26354289

  13. Crown size and cusp proportions in Homo antecessor upper first molars. A comment on Quam et al. 2009.

    PubMed

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; de Castro, José María Bermúdez; Martinón-Torres, María; Prado-Simón, Leyre

    2011-02-01

    A recent evaluation of upper first molar (M¹) crown size and cusp proportions in the genus Homo (Quam et al. 2009) describes Homo antecessor as maintaining a primitive pattern of cusp proportions, similar to that identified in australopithecines and the earliest members of the genus Homo. These results contrast with those of Gómez-Robles et al. (2007), who described the crown shape in these molars as derived and similar to Neanderthals and European Homo heidelbergensis. The reassessment of these measurements following the same methodology described by Quam et al. (2009) in all the M(1) s that are currently part of the hypodigm of H. antecessor demonstrates that the fossils from TD6 not only have the same cusp proportions identified in later Homo species, but also a strongly reduced metacone and a large hypocone shared with Middle and Upper Pleistocene members of the Neanderthal lineage. The evolutionary significance of these features should be evaluated in light of the results provided by recently discovered dental, cranial, mandibular, and postcranial H. antecessor fossils. PMID:21208207

  14. Crown size and cusp proportions in Homo antecessor upper first molars. A comment on Quam et al. 2009

    PubMed Central

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; de Castro, José María Bermúdez; Martinón-Torres, María; Prado-Simón, Leyre

    2011-01-01

    A recent evaluation of upper first molar (M1) crown size and cusp proportions in the genus Homo (Quam et al. 2009) describes Homo antecessor as maintaining a primitive pattern of cusp proportions, similar to that identified in australopithecines and the earliest members of the genus Homo. These results contrast with those of Gómez-Robles et al. (2007), who described the crown shape in these molars as derived and similar to Neanderthals and European Homo heidelbergensis. The reassessment of these measurements following the same methodology described by Quam et al. (2009) in all the M1s that are currently part of the hypodigm of H. antecessor demonstrates that the fossils from TD6 not only have the same cusp proportions identified in later Homo species, but also a strongly reduced metacone and a large hypocone shared with Middle and Upper Pleistocene members of the Neanderthal lineage. The evolutionary significance of these features should be evaluated in light of the results provided by recently discovered dental, cranial, mandibular, and postcranial H. antecessor fossils. PMID:21208207

  15. The evolutionary history of the hominin hand since the last common ancestor of Pan and Homo

    PubMed Central

    Tocheri, Matthew W; Orr, Caley M; Jacofsky, Marc C; Marzke, Mary W

    2008-01-01

    Molecular evidence indicates that the last common ancestor of the genus Pan and the hominin clade existed between 8 and 4 million years ago (Ma). The current fossil record indicates the Pan-Homo last common ancestor existed at least 5 Ma and most likely between 6 and 7 Ma. Together, the molecular and fossil evidence has important consequences for interpreting the evolutionary history of the hand within the tribe Hominini (hominins). Firstly, parsimony supports the hypothesis that the hand of the last common ancestor most likely resembled that of an extant great ape overall (Pan, Gorilla, and Pongo), and that of an African ape in particular. Second, it provides a context for interpreting the derived changes to the hand that have evolved in various hominins. For example, the Australopithecus afarensis hand is likely derived in comparison with that of the Pan–Homo last common ancestor in having shorter fingers relative to thumb length and more proximo-distally oriented joints between its capitate, second metacarpal, and trapezium. This evidence suggests that these derived features evolved prior to the intensification of stone tool-related hominin behaviors beginning around 2.5 Ma. However, a majority of primitive features most likely present in the Pan-Homo last common ancestor are retained in the hands of Australopithecus, Paranthropus/early Homo, and Homo floresiensis. This evidence suggests that further derived changes to the hands of other hominins such as modern humans and Neandertals did not evolve until after 2.5 Ma and possibly even later than 1.5 Ma, which is currently the earliest evidence of Acheulian technology. The derived hands of modern humans and Neandertals may indicate a morphological commitment to tool-related manipulative behaviors beyond that observed in other hominins, including those (e.g. H. floresiensis) which may be descended from earlier tool-making species. PMID:18380869

  16. The evolutionary history of the hominin hand since the last common ancestor of Pan and Homo.

    PubMed

    Tocheri, Matthew W; Orr, Caley M; Jacofsky, Marc C; Marzke, Mary W

    2008-04-01

    Molecular evidence indicates that the last common ancestor of the genus Pan and the hominin clade existed between 8 and 4 million years ago (Ma). The current fossil record indicates the Pan-Homo last common ancestor existed at least 5 Ma and most likely between 6 and 7 Ma. Together, the molecular and fossil evidence has important consequences for interpreting the evolutionary history of the hand within the tribe Hominini (hominins). Firstly, parsimony supports the hypothesis that the hand of the last common ancestor most likely resembled that of an extant great ape overall (Pan, Gorilla, and Pongo), and that of an African ape in particular. Second, it provides a context for interpreting the derived changes to the hand that have evolved in various hominins. For example, the Australopithecus afarensis hand is likely derived in comparison with that of the Pan-Homo last common ancestor in having shorter fingers relative to thumb length and more proximo-distally oriented joints between its capitate, second metacarpal, and trapezium. This evidence suggests that these derived features evolved prior to the intensification of stone tool-related hominin behaviors beginning around 2.5 Ma. However, a majority of primitive features most likely present in the Pan-Homo last common ancestor are retained in the hands of Australopithecus, Paranthropus/early Homo, and Homo floresiensis. This evidence suggests that further derived changes to the hands of other hominins such as modern humans and Neandertals did not evolve until after 2.5 Ma and possibly even later than 1.5 Ma, which is currently the earliest evidence of Acheulian technology. The derived hands of modern humans and Neandertals may indicate a morphological commitment to tool-related manipulative behaviors beyond that observed in other hominins, including those (e.g. H. floresiensis) which may be descended from earlier tool-making species. PMID:18380869

  17. Adult Neandertal clavicles from the El Sidrón site (Asturias, Spain) in the context of Homo pectoral girdle evolution.

    PubMed

    Rosas, Antonio; Rodriguez-Perez, Francisco Javier; Bastir, Markus; Estalrrich, Almudena; Huguet, Rosa; García-Tabernero, Antonio; Pastor, Juan Francisco; de la Rasilla, Marco

    2016-06-01

    We undertook a three-dimensional geometric morphometric (3DGM) analysis on 12 new Neandertal clavicle specimens from the El Sidrón site (Spain), dated to 49,000 years ago. The 3DGM methods were applied in a comparative framework in order to improve our understanding of trait polarity in features related to Homo pectoral girdle evolution, using other Neandertals, Homo sapiens, Pan, ATD6-50 (Homo antecessor), and KNM-WT 15000 (Homo ergaster/erectus) in the reference collection. Twenty-nine homologous landmarks were measured for each clavicle. Variation and morphological similarities were assessed through principal component analysis, conducted separately for the complete clavicle and the diaphysis. On average, Neandertal clavicles had significantly larger muscular entheses, double dorsal curvature, clavicle torsion, and cranial orientation of the acromial end than non-Neandertal clavicles; the El Sidrón clavicles fit this pattern. Variation within the samples was large, with extensive overlap between Homo species; only chimpanzee specimens clearly differed from the other specimens in morphometric terms. Taken together, our morphometric analyses are consistent with the following phylogenetic sequence. The primitive condition of the clavicle is manifest in the cranial orientation of both the acromial and sternal ends. The derived condition expressed in the H. sapiens + Neandertal clade is defined by caudal rotation of both the sternal and acromial ends, but with variation in the number of acromia remaining in a certain cranial orientation. Finally, the autapomorphic Neandertal condition is defined by secondarily acquired primitive cranial re-orientation of the acromial end, which varies from individual to individual. These results suggest that the pace of phylogenetic change in the pectoral girdle does not seem to follow that of other postcranial skeletal features. PMID:27260174

  18. Technical note: virtual reconstruction of KNM-ER 1813 Homo habilis cranium.

    PubMed

    Benazzi, Stefano; Gruppioni, Giorgio; Strait, David S; Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2014-01-01

    A very limiting factor for paleoanthropological studies is the poor state of preservation of the human fossil record, where fragmentation and deformation are considered normal. Although anatomical information can still be gathered from a distorted fossil, such specimens must typically be excluded from advanced morphological and morphometric analyses, thus reducing the fossil sample size and, ultimately, our knowledge of human evolution. In this contribution we provide the first digital reconstruction of the KNM-ER 1813 Homo habilis cranium. Based on state of-the-art three-dimensional digital modeling and geometric morphometric (GM) methods, the facial portion was aligned to the neurocranium, the overall distortion was removed, and the missing regions were restored. The reconstructed KNM-ER 1813 allows for an adjustment of the anthropometric measurements gathered on the original fossil. It is suitable for further quantitative studies, such as GM analyses focused on skull morphology or for finite element analysis to explore the mechanics of early Homo feeding behavior and diet. PMID:24318950

  19. Cytotoxic scalarane-type sesterterpenes from the Saudi Red Sea sponge Hyrtios erectus.

    PubMed

    Alarif, Walied M; Al-Lihaibi, Sultan S; Ghandourah, Mohamed A; Orif, Mohamed I; Basaif, Salim A; Ayyad, Seif-Eldin N

    2016-06-01

    The CHCl3/MeOH extract of the marine sponge Hyrtios erectus showed cytotoxicity against three cancer cell lines HepG2, A549, and PC-3 with IC50 0.055, 0.044, and 0.023 μg/ml, respectively. The CH2Cl2 soluble fraction afforded three scalarane sesterterpenes (1-3) along with a cholestane derivative (4) and an indole alkaloid (5). Chemical structures were established by spectroscopic techniques and comparison with data reported in the literature. Scalarinol (1) was found as a new metabolite, while heteronemin (2) and 12-O-deacetyl-19-deoxyscalarin (3) are known compounds. 1-3 exhibited cytotoxic activity against the cancer cell lines with IC50 values ranging from 14 to 230 μM. The molecular affinity to the DNA was employed as marker to examine the proposed mechanism of cytotoxic activities. Compound 2, with IC50 28 μg/ml, displayed the highest affinity to the DNA. PMID:26630474

  20. Dental development in living and fossil orangutans.

    PubMed

    Smith, Tanya M

    2016-05-01

    Numerous studies have investigated molar development in extant and fossil hominoids, yet relatively little is known about orangutans, the only great ape with an extensive fossil record. This study characterizes aspects of dental development, including cuspal enamel daily secretion rate, long-period line periodicities, cusp-specific molar crown formation times and extension rates, and initiation and completion ages in living and fossil orangutan postcanine teeth. Daily secretion rate and periodicities in living orangutans are similar to previous reports, while crown formation times often exceed published values, although direct comparisons are limited. One wild Bornean individual died at 4.5 years of age with fully erupted first molars (M1s), while a captive individual and a wild Sumatran individual likely erupted their M1s around five or six years of age. These data underscore the need for additional samples of orangutans of known sex, species, and developmental environment to explore potential sources of variation in molar emergence and their relationship to life history variables. Fossil orangutans possess larger crowns than living orangutans, show similarities in periodicities, and have faster daily secretion rate, longer crown formation times, and slower extension rates. Molar crown formation times exceed reported values for other fossil apes, including Gigantopithecus blacki. When compared to African apes, both living and fossil orangutans show greater cuspal enamel thickness values and periodicities, resulting in longer crown formation times and slower extension rates. Several of these variables are similar to modern humans, representing examples of convergent evolution. Molar crown formation does not appear to be equivalent among extant great apes or consistent within living and fossil members of Pongo or Homo. PMID:27178461

  1. Radiometric dating of the type-site for Homo heidelbergensis at Mauer, Germany

    PubMed Central

    Wagner, Günther A.; Krbetschek, Matthias; Degering, Detlev; Bahain, Jean-Jacques; Shao, Qingfeng; Falguères, Christophe; Voinchet, Pierre; Dolo, Jean-Michel; Garcia, Tristan; Rightmire, G. Philip

    2010-01-01

    The Mauer mandible, holotype of Homo heidelbergensis, was found in 1907 in fluvial sands deposited by the Neckar River 10 km southeast of Heidelberg, Germany. The fossil is an important key to understanding early human occupation of Europe north of the Alps. Given the associated mammal fauna and the geological context, the find layer has been placed in the early Middle Pleistocene, but confirmatory chronometric evidence has hitherto been missing. Here we show that two independent techniques, the combined electron spin resonance/U-series method used with mammal teeth and infrared radiofluorescence applied to sand grains, date the type-site of Homo heidelbergensis at Mauer to 609 ± 40 ka. This result demonstrates that the mandible is the oldest hominin fossil reported to date from central and northern Europe and raises questions concerning the phyletic relationship of Homo heidelbergensis to more ancient populations documented from southern Europe and in Africa. We address the paleoanthropological significance of the Mauer jaw in light of this dating evidence. PMID:21041630

  2. Radiometric dating of the type-site for Homo heidelbergensis at Mauer, Germany.

    PubMed

    Wagner, Günther A; Krbetschek, Matthias; Degering, Detlev; Bahain, Jean-Jacques; Shao, Qingfeng; Falguères, Christophe; Voinchet, Pierre; Dolo, Jean-Michel; Garcia, Tristan; Rightmire, G Philip

    2010-11-16

    The Mauer mandible, holotype of Homo heidelbergensis, was found in 1907 in fluvial sands deposited by the Neckar River 10 km southeast of Heidelberg, Germany. The fossil is an important key to understanding early human occupation of Europe north of the Alps. Given the associated mammal fauna and the geological context, the find layer has been placed in the early Middle Pleistocene, but confirmatory chronometric evidence has hitherto been missing. Here we show that two independent techniques, the combined electron spin resonance/U-series method used with mammal teeth and infrared radiofluorescence applied to sand grains, date the type-site of Homo heidelbergensis at Mauer to 609 ± 40 ka. This result demonstrates that the mandible is the oldest hominin fossil reported to date from central and northern Europe and raises questions concerning the phyletic relationship of Homo heidelbergensis to more ancient populations documented from southern Europe and in Africa. We address the paleoanthropological significance of the Mauer jaw in light of this dating evidence. PMID:21041630

  3. The hominin fossil record: taxa, grades and clades

    PubMed Central

    Wood, Bernard; Lonergan, Nicholas

    2008-01-01

    This paper begins by reviewing the fossil evidence for human evolution. It presents summaries of each of the taxa recognized in a relatively speciose hominin taxonomy. These taxa are grouped in grades, namely possible and probable hominins, archaic hominins, megadont archaic hominins, transitional hominins, pre-modern Homo and anatomically modern Homo. The second part of this contribution considers some of the controversies that surround hominin taxonomy and systematics. The first is the vexed question of how you tell an early hominin from an early panin, or from taxa belonging to an extinct clade closely related to the Pan-Homo clade. Secondly, we consider how many species should be recognized within the hominin fossil record, and review the philosophies and methods used to identify taxa within the hominin fossil record. Thirdly, we examine how relationships within the hominin clade are investigated, including descriptions of the methods used to break down an integrated structure into tractable analytical units, and then how cladograms are generated and compared. We then review the internal structure of the hominin clade, including the problem of how many subclades should be recognized within the hominin clade, and we examine the reliability of hominin cladistic hypotheses. The last part of the paper reviews the concepts of a genus, including the criteria that should be used for recognizing genera within the hominin clade. PMID:18380861

  4. Body composition in Pan paniscus compared with Homo sapiens has implications for changes during human evolution.

    PubMed

    Zihlman, Adrienne L; Bolter, Debra R

    2015-06-16

    The human body has been shaped by natural selection during the past 4-5 million years. Fossils preserve bones and teeth but lack muscle, skin, fat, and organs. To understand the evolution of the human form, information about both soft and hard tissues of our ancestors is needed. Our closest living relatives of the genus Pan provide the best comparative model to those ancestors. Here, we present data on the body composition of 13 bonobos (Pan paniscus) measured during anatomical dissections and compare the data with Homo sapiens. These comparative data suggest that both females and males (i) increased body fat, (ii) decreased relative muscle mass, (iii) redistributed muscle mass to lower limbs, and (iv) decreased relative mass of skin during human evolution. Comparison of soft tissues between Pan and Homo provides new insights into the function and evolution of body composition. PMID:26034269

  5. Body composition in Pan paniscus compared with Homo sapiens has implications for changes during human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Zihlman, Adrienne L.; Bolter, Debra R.

    2015-01-01

    The human body has been shaped by natural selection during the past 4–5 million years. Fossils preserve bones and teeth but lack muscle, skin, fat, and organs. To understand the evolution of the human form, information about both soft and hard tissues of our ancestors is needed. Our closest living relatives of the genus Pan provide the best comparative model to those ancestors. Here, we present data on the body composition of 13 bonobos (Pan paniscus) measured during anatomical dissections and compare the data with Homo sapiens. These comparative data suggest that both females and males (i) increased body fat, (ii) decreased relative muscle mass, (iii) redistributed muscle mass to lower limbs, and (iv) decreased relative mass of skin during human evolution. Comparison of soft tissues between Pan and Homo provides new insights into the function and evolution of body composition. PMID:26034269

  6. Filling the gap. Human cranial remains from Gombore II (Melka Kunture, Ethiopia; ca. 850 ka) and the origin of Homo heidelbergensis.

    PubMed

    Profico, Antonio; Di Vincenzo, Fabio; Gagliardi, Lorenza; Piperno, Marcello; Manzi, Giorgio

    2016-06-20

    African archaic humans dated to around 1,0 Ma share morphological affinities with Homo ergaster and appear distinct in cranio-dental morphology from those of the Middle Pleistocene that are referred to Homo heidelbergensis. This observation suggests a taxonomic and phylogenetic discontinuity in Africa that ranges across the Matuyama/Brunhes reversal (780 ka). Yet, the fossil record between roughly 900 and 600 ka is notoriously poor. In this context, the Early Stone Age site of Gombore II, in the Melka Kunture formation (Upper Awash, Ethiopia), provides a privileged case-study. In the Acheulean layer of Gombore II, somewhat more recent than 875 ±10 ka, two large cranial fragments were discovered in 1973 and 1975 respectively: a partial left parietal (Melka Kunture 1) and a right portion of the frontal bone (Melka Kunture 2), which probably belonged to the same cranium. We present here the first detailed description and computer-assisted reconstruction of the morphology of the cranial vault pertaining to these fossil fragments. Our analysis suggest that the human fossil specimen from Gombore II fills a phenetic gap between Homo ergaster and Homo heidelbergensis. This appears in agreement with the chronology of such a partial cranial vault, which therefore represents at present one of the best available candidates (if any) for the origin of Homo heidelbergensis in Africa. PMID:26583275

  7. A review of early Homo in southern Africa focusing on cranial, mandibular and dental remains, with the description of a new species (Homo gautengensis sp. nov.).

    PubMed

    Curnoe, D

    2010-06-01

    The southern African sample of early Homo is playing an increasingly important role in understanding the origins, diversity and adaptations of the human genus. Yet, the affinities and classification of these remains continue to be in a state of flux. The southern African sample derives from five karstic palaeocave localities and represents more than one-third of the total African sample for this group; sampling an even wider range of anatomical regions than the eastern African collection. Morphological and phenetic comparisons of southern African specimens covering dental, mandibular and cranial remains demonstrate this sample to contain a species distinct from known early Homo taxa. The new species Homo gautengensis sp. nov. is described herein: type specimen Stw 53; Paratypes SE 255, SE 1508, Stw 19b/33, Stw 75-79, Stw 80, Stw 84, Stw 151, SK 15, SK 27, SK 45, SK 847, SKX 257/258, SKX 267/268, SKX 339, SKX 610, SKW 3114 and DNH 70. H. gautengensis is identified from fossils recovered at three palaeocave localities with current best ages spanning approximately 2.0 to 1.26-0.82 million years BP. Thus, H. gautengensis is probably the earliest recognised species in the human genus and its longevity is apparently well in excess of H. habilis. PMID:20466364

  8. Dental metric assessment of the omo fossils: implications for the phylogenetic position of Australopithecus africanus.

    PubMed

    Hunt, K; Vitzthum, V J

    1986-10-01

    The discovery of Australopithecus afarensis has led to new interpretations of hominid phylogeny, some of which reject A. africanus as an ancestor of Homo. Analysis of buccolingual tooth crown dimensions in australopithecines and Homo species by Johanson and White (Science 202:321-330, 1979) revealed that the South African gracile australopithecines are intermediate in size between Laetoli/hadar hominids and South African robust hominids. Homo, on the other hand, displays dimensions similar to those of A. afarensis and smaller than those of other australopithecines. These authors conclude, therefore, that A. africanus is derived in the direction of A. robustus and is not an ancestor of the Homo clade. However, there is a considerable time gap (ca. 800,000 years) between the Laetoli/Hadar specimens and the earliest Homo specimens; "gracile" hominids from Omo fit into this chronological gap and are from the same geographic area. Because the early specimens at Omo have been designated A. afarensis and the later specimens classified as Homo habilis, Omo offers a unique opportunity to test hypotheses concerning hominid evolution, especially regarding the phylogenetic status of A. africanus. Comparisons of mean cheek teeth breadths disclosed the significant (P less than or equal to 0.05) differences between the Omo sample and the Laetoli/Hadar fossils (P4, M2, and M3), the Homo fossils (P3, P4, M1, M2, and M1), and A. africanus (M3). Of the several possible interpretations of these data, it appears that the high degree of similarity between the Omo sample and the South African gracile australopithecine material warrants considering the two as geographical variants of A. africanus. The geographic, chronologic, and metric attributes of the Omo sample argue for its lineal affinity with A. afarensis and Homo. In conclusion, a consideration of hominid postcanine dental metrics provides no basis for removing A. africanus from the ancestry of the Homo lineage. PMID:3099582

  9. Fossilized bioelectric wire - the trace fossil Trichichnus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kędzierski, M.; Uchman, A.; Sawlowicz, Z.; Briguglio, A.

    2015-04-01

    The trace fossil Trichichnus is proposed as an indicator of fossil bioelectric bacterial activity at the oxic-anoxic interface zone of marine sediments. This fulfils the idea that such processes, commonly found in the modern realm, should be also present in the geological past. Trichichnus is an exceptional trace fossil due to its very thin diameter (mostly less than 1 mm) and common pyritic filling. It is ubiquitous in some fine-grained sediments, where it has been interpreted as a burrow formed deeper than any other trace fossils, below the redox boundary. Trichichnus, formerly referred to as deeply burrowed invertebrates, has been found as remnant of a fossilized intrasediment bacterial mat that is pyritized. As visualized in 3-D by means of X-ray computed microtomography scanner, Trichichnus forms dense filamentous fabric, which reflects that it is produced by modern large, mat-forming, sulfide-oxidizing bacteria, belonging mostly to Thioploca-related taxa, which are able to house a complex bacterial consortium. Several stages of Trichichnus formation, including filamentous, bacterial mat and its pyritization, are proposed to explain an electron exchange between oxic and suboxic/anoxic layers in the sediment. Therefore, Trichichnus can be considered a fossilized "electric wire".

  10. De Novo Transcriptome Analysis of Two Seahorse Species (Hippocampus erectus and H. mohnikei) and the Development of Molecular Markers for Population Genetics

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Qiang; Luo, Wei; Wan, Shiming; Gao, Zexia

    2016-01-01

    Seahorse conservation has been performed utilizing various strategies for many decades, and the deeper understanding of genomic information is necessary to more efficiently protect the germplasm resources of seahorse species. However, little genetic information about seahorses currently exists in the public databases. In this study, high-throughput RNA sequencing for two seahorse species, Hippocampus erectus and H. mohnikei, was carried out, and de novo assembly generated 37,506 unigenes for H. erectus and 36,113 unigenes for H. mohnikei. Among them, 17,338 (46.23%) unigenes for H. erectus and 17,900 (49.57%) for H. mohnikei were successfully annotated based on the information available from the public databases. Through comparing the unigenes of two seahorse species, 7,802 candidate orthologous genes were identified and 5,268 genes among them could be annotated. In addition, gene ontology analysis of two species was similarly performed on biological processes, cellular components, and molecular functions. Twenty-four and twenty-one unigenes in H. erectus and H. mohnikei were annotated in the biosynthesis of unsaturated fatty acids pathways, and both seahorses lacked the Δ12 and Δ15 desaturases. Total of 8,992 and 9,116 SSR loci were obtained from H. erectus and H. mohnikei unigenes, respectively. Dozens of SSR were developed and then applied to assess the population genetic diversity, as well as cross-amplified in a related species, H. trimaculatus. The HO and HE values of the tested populations for H. erectus, H. mohnikei, and H. trimaculatus were medium. These resources would facilitate the conservation of the species through a better understanding of the genomics and comparative genome analysis within the Hippocampus genus. PMID:27128031

  11. The dynamics of reproductive rate, offspring survivorship and growth in the lined seahorse, Hippocampus erectus Perry, 1810

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Qiang; Li, Gang; Qin, Geng; Lin, Junda; Huang, Liangmin; Sun, Hushan; Feng, Peiyong

    2012-01-01

    Summary Seahorses are the vertebrate group with the embryonic development occurring within a special pouch in males. To understand the reproductive efficiency of the lined seahorse, Hippocampus erectus Perry, 1810 under controlled breeding experiments, we investigated the dynamics of reproductive rate, offspring survivorship and growth over births by the same male seahorses. The mean brood size of the 1-year old pairs in the 1st birth was 85.4±56.9 per brood, which was significantly smaller than that in the 6th birth (465.9±136.4 per brood) (P<0.001). The offspring survivorship and growth rate increased with the births. The fecundity was positively correlated with the length of brood pouches of males and trunk of females. The fecundity of 1-year old male and 2-year old female pairs was significantly higher than that from 1-year old couples (P<0.001). The brood size (552.7±150.4) of the males who mated with females that were isolated for the gamete-preparation, was larger than those (467.8±141.2) from the long-term pairs (P<0.05). Moreover, the offspring from the isolated females had higher survival and growth rates. Our results showed that the potential reproductive rate of seahorses H. erectus increased with the brood pouch development. PMID:23213429

  12. Influences of limb proportions and body size on locomotor kinematics in terrestrial primates and fossil hominins.

    PubMed

    Polk, J D

    2004-10-01

    During locomotion, mammalian limb postures are influenced by many factors including the animal's limb length and body mass. Polk (2002) compared the gait of similar-sized cercopithecine monkeys that differed limb proportions and found that longer-limbed monkeys usually adopt more extended joint postures than shorter-limbed monkeys in order to moderate their joint moments. Studies of primates as well as non-primate mammals that vary in body mass have demonstrated that larger animals use more extended limb postures than smaller animals. Such extended postures in larger animals increase the extensor muscle mechanical advantage and allow postures to be maintained with relatively less muscular effort (Polk, 2002; Biewener 1989). The results of these previous studies are used here to address two anthropological questions. The first concerns the postural effects of body mass and limb proportion differences between australopithecines and members of the genus Homo. That is, H. erectus and later hominins all have larger body mass and longer legs than australopithecines, and these anatomical differences suggest that Homo probably used more extended postures and probably required relatively less muscular force to resist gravity than the smaller and shorter-limbed australopithecines. The second question investigates how animals with similar size but different limb proportions differ in locomotor performance. The effects of limb proportions on gait are relevant to inferring postural and locomotor differences between Neanderthals and modern Homo sapiens which differ in their crural indices and relative limb length. This study demonstrates that primates with relatively long limbs achieve higher walking speeds while using lower stride frequencies and lower angular excursions than shorter-limbed monkeys, and these kinematic differences may allow longer-limbed taxa to locomote more efficiently than shorter-limbed species of similar mass. Such differences may also have characterized

  13. Age of the earliest known hominids in Java, Indonesia.

    PubMed

    Swisher, C C; Curtis, G H; Jacob, T; Getty, A G; Suprijo, A; Widiasmoro

    1994-02-25

    40Ar/39Ar laser-incremental heating of hornblende separated from pumice recovered at two hominid sites in Java, Indonesia, has yielded well-defined plateaus with weighted mean ages of 1.81 +/- 0.04 and 1.66 +/- 0.04 million years ago (Ma). The hominid fossils, a juvenile calvaria of Pithecanthropus and a partial face and cranial fragments of Meganthropus, commonly considered part of the Asian Homo erectus hypodigm, are at least 0.6 million years older than fossils referred to as Homo erectus (OH-9) from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, and comparable in age with the oldest Koobi Fora Homo cf. erectus (Homo ergaster) in Kenya. These ages lend further credence to the view that Homo erectus may have evolved outside of Africa. If the ancestor of Homo erectus ventured out of Africa before 1.8 Ma, the dispersal would have predated the advent of the Acheulean culture at 1.4 Ma, possibly explaining the absence of these characteristic stone cleavers and hand axes in East Asia. PMID:8108729

  14. Modes of fossil preservation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schopf, J.M.

    1975-01-01

    The processes of geologic preservation are important for understanding the organisms represented by fossils. Some fossil differences are due to basic differences in organization of animals and plants, but the interpretation of fossils has also tended to be influenced by modes of preservation. Four modes of preservation generally can be distinguished: (1) Cellular permineralization ("petrifaction") preserves anatomical detail, and, occasionally, even cytologic structures. (2) Coalified compression, best illustrated by structures from coal but characteristic of many plant fossils in shale, preserves anatomical details in distorted form and produces surface replicas (impressions) on enclosing matrix. (3) Authigenic preservation replicates surface form or outline (molds and casts) prior to distortion by compression and, depending on cementation and timing, may intergrade with fossils that have been subject to compression. (4) Duripartic (hard part) preservation is characteristic of fossil skeletal remains, predominantly animal. Molds, pseudomorphs, or casts may form as bulk replacements following dissolution of the original fossil material, usually by leaching. Classification of the kinds of preservation in fossils will aid in identifying the processes responsible for modifying the fossil remains of both animals and plants. ?? 1975.

  15. Total π-electron and HOMO energy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gutman, Ivan; Radenković, Slavko; Ðorđević, Slađana; Milovanović, Igor Ž.; Milovanović, Emina I.

    2016-04-01

    A relation is obtained between the total π-electron energy Eπ and the HOMO energy EHOMO, valid within the HMO approximation. This seems to be the very first relation between Eπ and EHOMO ever established. It enables a much more accurate assessment of Eπ of alternant conjugated hydrocarbons than that based on McClelland's formula and on other (n, m)-type approximate expressions.

  16. Restoring Fossil Creek

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flaccus, Kathleen; Vlieg, Julie; Marks, Jane C.; LeRoy, Carri J.

    2004-01-01

    Fossil Creek had been dammed for the past 90 years, and plans were underway to restore the stream. The creek runs through Central Arizona and flows from the high plateaus to the desert, cutting through the same formations that form the Grand Canyon. This article discusses the Fossil Creek monitoring project. In this project, students and teachers…

  17. An earlier origin for stone tool making: implications for cognitive evolution and the transition to Homo.

    PubMed

    Lewis, Jason E; Harmand, Sonia

    2016-07-01

    The discovery of the earliest known stone tools at Lomekwi 3 (LOM3) from West Turkana, Kenya, dated to 3.3 Ma, raises new questions about the mode and tempo of key adaptations in the hominin lineage. The LOM3 tools date to before the earliest known fossils attributed to Homo at 2.8 Ma. They were made and deposited in a more C3 environment than were the earliest Oldowan tools at 2.6 Ma. Their discovery leads to renewed investigation on the timing of the emergence of human-like manipulative capabilities in early hominins and implications for reconstructing cognition. The LOM3 artefacts form part of an emerging paradigm shift in palaeoanthropology, in which: tool-use and tool-making behaviours are not limited to the genus Homo; cranial, post-cranial and behavioural diversity in early Homo is much wider than previously thought; and these evolutionary changes may not have been direct adaptations to living in savannah grassland environments.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. PMID:27298464

  18. Encephalization and allometric trajectories in the genus Homo: Evidence from the Neandertal and modern lineages

    PubMed Central

    Bruner, Emiliano; Manzi, Giorgio; Arsuaga, Juan Luis

    2003-01-01

    The term “encephalization” is commonly used to describe an enlargement in brain size, considered as either absolute endocranial volumes or relative values in relation to body size. It is widely recognized that a considerable endocranial expansion occurred throughout the evolution of the genus Homo. This article aims to evaluate whether this phenomenon was the outcome of distinct evolutionary lineages, reaching similar brain expansions but through different trajectories. Endocranial morphology was studied in a sample of fossil hominines by multivariate approaches using both traditional metrics and geometric morphometrics. The analysis was focused on the transition from a generalized archaic pattern within the genus Homo to the modern morphology and compared with changes that occurred along the Neandertal lineage. The main result was the identification of two different evolutionary trajectories, in which a similar expansion in endocranial size has been reached by different changes in shape. Along the Neandertal lineage we observed maintenance of an “archaic” endocranial model, in which a large amount of variability is based on a single allometric trend. By contrast, when modern endocasts were compared with nonmodern ones, we found important differences apparently led by a parietal expansion. In this light, the origin of our species may have represented the opportunity to surpass the constraints imposed on encephalization by the ontogenetic pattern shared by nonmodern Homo representatives. PMID:14673084

  19. Fossil evidence for early hominid tool use.

    PubMed

    Susman, R L

    1994-09-01

    Although several Plio-Pleistocene hominids are found in association with stone and bone tools, it has been generally assumed that at any one time the hominid with the largest brain was the toolmaker. Fossils recovered over the last decade suggest that early hominids subsequent to 2.5 million years ago all might have used tools and occupied "cultural" niches. A test for humanlike precision grasping (the enhanced ability to manipulate tools) is proposed and applied to australopithecines and early Homo. The results indicate that tools were likely to have been used by all early hominids at around 2.0 million years ago. The earliest australopithecines, which predate the appearance of stone tools in the archaeological record, do not show signs of advanced precision grasping. PMID:8079169

  20. Craniofacial variation in Homo habilis: an analysis of the evidence for multiple species.

    PubMed

    Miller, J M

    2000-05-01

    The question of heterogeneity in the Homo habilis sample continues to be controversial. Various lines of evidence have been used to reject the null hypothesis of intraspecific variation. This evidence derives from analyses of endocranial volume variation, probability estimates of sexual dimorphism, facial variation, cranial angles, CV analysis of craniofacial variation, the multivariate pattern of sexual dimorphism, the pattern of variability (CV) profiles, distance data using exact randomization methods, and various kinds of quantitative ordinations of fossils. Although consensus is lacking as to how the H. habilis sample is to be split, there is a growing perception that the degree of variation among the fossils is too great and the pattern of variation is too different to be explained by intraspecific variation. This has resulted in the recognition of new species such as "Homo rudolfensis." The present study critically examines the evidence commonly cited as the basis for recognizing multiple species in the extended H. habilis hypodigm. Reanalysis and reinterpretation of these data indicates that: (1) the degree of variation in the H. habilis sample is typical of modern hominoids, and (2) the pattern of variation among specimens of the H. habilis sample is consistent with intraspecific variation. Thus, at present, there is no sound basis to reject the null hypothesis of intraspecific variation as an adequate explanation of the morphological variation seen among specimens of the extended H. habilis sample. If multiple species are indeed represented, then their presence has not yet been satisfactorily demonstrated. PMID:10766947

  1. Genome Digging: Insight into the Mitochondrial Genome of Homo

    PubMed Central

    Ovchinnikov, Igor V.; Kholina, Olga I.

    2010-01-01

    Background A fraction of the Neanderthal mitochondrial genome sequence has a similarity with a 5,839-bp nuclear DNA sequence of mitochondrial origin (numt) on the human chromosome 1. This fact has never been interpreted. Although this phenomenon may be attributed to contamination and mosaic assembly of Neanderthal mtDNA from short sequencing reads, we explain the mysterious similarity by integration of this numt (mtAncestor-1) into the nuclear genome of the common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans not long before their reproductive split. Principal Findings Exploiting bioinformatics, we uncovered an additional numt (mtAncestor-2) with a high similarity to the Neanderthal mtDNA and indicated that both numts represent almost identical replicas of the mtDNA sequences ancestral to the mitochondrial genomes of Neanderthals and modern humans. In the proteins, encoded by mtDNA, the majority of amino acids distinguishing chimpanzees from humans and Neanderthals were acquired by the ancestral hominins. The overall rate of nonsynonymous evolution in Neanderthal mitochondrial protein-coding genes is not higher than in other lineages. The model incorporating the ancestral hominin mtDNA sequences estimates the average divergence age of the mtDNAs of Neanderthals and modern humans to be 450,000–485,000 years. The mtAncestor-1 and mtAncestor-2 sequences were incorporated into the nuclear genome approximately 620,000 years and 2,885,000 years ago, respectively. Conclusions This study provides the first insight into the evolution of the mitochondrial DNA in hominins ancestral to Neanderthals and humans. We hypothesize that mtAncestor-1 and mtAncestor-2 are likely to be molecular fossils of the mtDNAs of Homo heidelbergensis and a stem Homo lineage. The dN/dS dynamics suggests that the effective population size of extinct hominins was low. However, the hominin lineage ancestral to humans, Neanderthals and H. heidelbergensis, had a larger effective population size and

  2. Leukotriene signaling in the extinct human subspecies Homo denisovan and Homo neanderthalensis. Structural and functional comparison with Homo sapiens.

    PubMed

    Adel, Susan; Kakularam, Kumar Reddy; Horn, Thomas; Reddanna, Pallu; Kuhn, Hartmut; Heydeck, Dagmar

    2015-01-01

    Mammalian lipoxygenases (LOXs) have been implicated in cell differentiation and in the biosynthesis of pro- and anti-inflammatory lipid mediators. The initial draft sequence of the Homo neanderthalensis genome (coverage of 1.3-fold) suggested defective leukotriene signaling in this archaic human subspecies since expression of essential proteins appeared to be corrupted. Meanwhile high quality genomic sequence data became available for two extinct human subspecies (H. neanderthalensis, Homo denisovan) and completion of the human 1000 genome project provided a comprehensive database characterizing the genetic variability of the human genome. For this study we extracted the nucleotide sequences of selected eicosanoid relevant genes (ALOX5, ALOX15, ALOX12, ALOX15B, ALOX12B, ALOXE3, COX1, COX2, LTA4H, LTC4S, ALOX5AP, CYSLTR1, CYSLTR2, BLTR1, BLTR2) from the corresponding databases. Comparison of the deduced amino acid sequences in connection with site-directed mutagenesis studies and structural modeling suggested that the major enzymes and receptors of leukotriene signaling as well as the two cyclooxygenase isoforms were fully functional in these two extinct human subspecies. PMID:25447821

  3. Body proportions of Australopithecus afarensis and A. africanus and the origin of the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    McHenry, H M; Berger, L R

    1998-07-01

    New discoveries of A. africanus fossils from Member 4 Sterkfontein reveal a body form quite unlike earlier Australopithecus species. The new adult material consists of over 48 fore- and hindlimb specimens and includes an associated partial skeleton, Stw 431. The forelimbs and relatively large: the average size of their joints corresponds to a modern human with body mass of 53 kg. The hindlimbs are much smaller with an average size matching a modern human of only 33 kg. Analyses of the Stw 431 partial skeleton confirm these results. In contrast, A. afarensis and anamensis more closely approximate a human pattern of forelimb joint size. This is an unanticipated complication in our understanding of early human evolution. In general, craniodental morphology tracks time in species of Australopithecus: A. anamensis (3.5-4.1 Ma) is the the most primitive with a strongly sloping symphysis, large canine roots, etc., A. afarensis (3.0-3.6 Ma) is less primitive, and A. africanus (2.6-3.0 Ma) shares many derived characteristics with early Homo (e.g., expanded brain, reduced canine, bicuspid lower third premolar, reduced prognathism, greater flexion of the cranial base, deeper TMJ). the new postcranial material, however, reveals an apparently primitive morphology of relatively large forelimb and small hindlimb joints resembling more the pongid than the human pattern. More pongid-like proportions are also present in the two known associated partial skeletons of H. habilis (OH 62 KNM-ER 3735). This may imply either (1) that A. africanus and H. habilis evolved craniodental characters in parallel with the lineage leading to later Homo, or (2) that fore- to hindlimb proportions of A. afarensis (and perhaps A. anamensis) evolved independent of the lineage leading to Homo and does not imply a close phylogenetic link with Homo. Both of these explanations or any other phylogeny imply homoplasy. PMID:9680464

  4. Fossil fuels -- future fuels

    SciTech Connect

    1998-03-01

    Fossil fuels -- coal, oil, and natural gas -- built America`s historic economic strength. Today, coal supplies more than 55% of the electricity, oil more than 97% of the transportation needs, and natural gas 24% of the primary energy used in the US. Even taking into account increased use of renewable fuels and vastly improved powerplant efficiencies, 90% of national energy needs will still be met by fossil fuels in 2020. If advanced technologies that boost efficiency and environmental performance can be successfully developed and deployed, the US can continue to depend upon its rich resources of fossil fuels.

  5. Human evolution.

    PubMed

    Wood, B

    1996-12-01

    The common ancestor of modern humans and the great apes is estimated to have lived between 5 and 8 Myrs ago, but the earliest evidence in the human, or hominid, fossil record is Ardipithecus ramidus, from a 4.5 Myr Ethiopian site. This genus was succeeded by Australopithecus, within which four species are presently recognised. All combine a relatively primitive postcranial skeleton, a dentition with expanded chewing teeth and a small brain. The most primitive species in our own genus, Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, are little advanced over the australopithecines and with hindsight their inclusion in Homo may not be appropriate. The first species to share a substantial number of features with later Homo is Homo ergaster, or 'early African Homo erectus', which appears in the fossil record around 2.0 Myr. Outside Africa, fossil hominids appear as Homo erectus-like hominids, in mainland Asia and in Indonesia close to 2 Myr ago; the earliest good evidence of 'archaic Homo' in Europe is dated at between 600-700 Kyr before the present. Anatomically modern human, or Homo sapiens, fossils are seen first in the fossil record in Africa around 150 Kyr ago. Taken together with molecular evidence on the extent of DNA variation, this suggests that the transition from 'archaic' to 'modern' Homo may have taken place in Africa. PMID:8976151

  6. Descriptions of the lower limb skeleton of Homo floresiensis.

    PubMed

    Jungers, W L; Larson, S G; Harcourt-Smith, W; Morwood, M J; Sutikna, T; Due Awe, Rokhus; Djubiantono, T

    2009-11-01

    Bones of the lower extremity have been recovered for up to nine different individuals of Homo floresiensis - LB1, LB4, LB6, LB8, LB9, LB10, LB11, LB13, and LB14. LB1 is represented by a bony pelvis (damaged but now repaired), femora, tibiae, fibulae, patellae, and numerous foot bones. LB4/2 is an immature right tibia lacking epiphyses. LB6 includes a fragmentary metatarsal and two pedal phalanges. LB8 is a nearly complete right tibia (shorter than that of LB1). LB9 is a fragment of a hominin femoral diaphysis. LB10 is a proximal hallucal phalanx. LB11 includes pelvic fragments and a fragmentary metatarsal. LB13 is a patellar fragment, and LB14 is a fragment of an acetabulum. All skeletal remains recovered from Liang Bua were extremely fragile, and some were badly damaged when they were removed temporarily from Jakarta. At present, virtually all fossil materials have been returned, stabilized, and hardened. These skeletal remains are described and illustrated photographically. The lower limb skeleton exhibits a uniquely mosaic pattern, with many primitive-like morphologies; we have been unable to find this combination of ancient and derived (more human-like) features in either healthy or pathological modern humans, regardless of body size. Bilateral asymmetries are slight in the postcranium, and muscle markings are clearly delineated on all bones. The long bones are robust, and the thickness of their cortices is well within the ranges seen in healthy modern humans. LB1 is most probably a female based on the shape of her greater sciatic notch, and the marked degree of lateral iliac flaring recalls that seen in australopithecines such as "Lucy" (AL 288-1). The metatarsus has a human-like robusticity formula, but the proximal pedal phalanges are relatively long and robust (and slightly curved). The hallux is fully adducted, but we suspect that a medial longitudinal arch was absent. PMID:19062072

  7. A description of the geological context, discrete traits, and linear morphometrics of the Middle Pleistocene hominin from Dali, Shaanxi Province, China.

    PubMed

    Wu, Xinzhi; Athreya, Sheela

    2013-01-01

    In 1978, a nearly complete hominin fossil cranium was recovered from loess deposits at the site of Dali in Shaanxi Province, northwestern China. It was subsequently briefly described in both English and Chinese publications. Here we present a comprehensive univariate and nonmetric description of the specimen and provide comparisons with key Middle Pleistocene Homo erectus and non-erectus hominins from Eurasia and Africa. In both respects we find affinities with Chinese H. erectus as well as African and European Middle Pleistocene hominins typically referred to as Homo heidelbergensis. Specifically, the Dali specimen possesses a low cranial height, relatively short and arched parietal bones, an angled occipital bone, and a nonprominent articular tubercle relative to the preglenoid surface all of which distinguish it from Afro/European Middle Pleistocene Homo and align it with Asian H. erectus. At the same time, it displays a more derived morphology of the supraorbital torus and supratoral sulcus and a thinner tympanic plate than H. erectus, a relatively long upper (lambda-inion) occipital plane with a clear separation of inion and opisthocranion, and an absolute and relative increase in brain size, all of which align it with African and European Middle Pleistocene Homo. Finally, traits such as the form of the frontal keel and the relatively short, broad midface align Dali specifically with other Chinese specimens from the Middle Pleistocene and Late Pleistocene, including H. erectus, and differentiate these from the Afro/European specimens of this time period. PMID:23283667

  8. Fossil Simulation in the Classroom

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hoehn, Robert G.

    1977-01-01

    Describes classroom science demonstrations and experiments that simulate the process of fossil formation. Lists materials, procedures and suggestions for successful activities. Includes ten student activities (coral fossils, leaf fossils, leaf scars, carbonization, etc.). Describes a fossil game in which students work in pairs. (CS)

  9. Body proportions of Homo habilis reviewed.

    PubMed

    Haeusler, Martin; McHenry, Henry M

    2004-04-01

    The ratio of fore- to hindlimb size plays an important role in our understanding of human evolution. Although Homo habilis was relatively modern craniodentally, its body proportions are commonly believed to have been more apelike than in the earlier Australopithecus afarensis. The evidence for this, however, rests, on two fragmentary skeletons, OH 62 and KNM-ER 3735. The upper limb of the better-preserved OH 62 from Olduvai Gorge is long and slender, but its hindlimb is represented mainly by the proximal portion of a thin femur of uncertain length. The present analysis shows that upper-to-lower limb shaft proportions of both OH 62 and AL 288-1 (A. afarensis) fall in the modern human range of variation, although OH 62 also falls inside that of chimpanzees due to their overlap in small individuals. Despite being more fragmentary, the larger-bodied KNM-ER 3735 lies outside the chimpanzee range and close to the human mean. Because the differences between any of the three individuals are compatible with the range of variation seen in extant hominoid groups, it is not legitimate to infer more primitive upper-to-lower limb shaft proportions for either H. habilis or A. afarensis. Femur length of OH 62 can only be estimated by comparison. Its closest match in size and morphology is with the gracile OH 34 specimen, which therefore provides a better analogue for the reconstruction of OH 62 than the stocky AL 288-1 femur that is traditionally used. OH 34's slender proportions are hardly due to abrasion, but match those of a modern human of that body-size, suggesting that the relative length of OH 62's leg may have been human-like. Brachial proportions, however, remained primitive. Long legs may imply long distance terrestrial travel. Perhaps this adaptation evolved early in the genus Homo, with H. habilis providing an early representative of this important change. PMID:15066379

  10. Fossilization of feathers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davis, Paul G.; Briggs, Derek E. G.

    1995-09-01

    Scanning electron microscopy of feathers has revealed evidence that a bacterial glycocalyx (a network of exocellular polysaccharide fibers) played a role in promoting their fossilization in some cases. This mode of preservation has not been reported in other soft tissues. The majority of fossil feathers are preserved as carbonized traces. More rarely, bacteria on the surface are replicated by authigenic minerals (bacterial autolithification). The feathers of Archaeopteryx are preserved mainly by imprintation following early lithification of the substrate and decay of the feather. Lacustrine settings provide the most important taphonomic window for feather preservation. Preservation in terrestrial and normal-marine settings involves very different processes (in amber and in authigenically mineralized coprolites, respectively). Therefore, there may be a significant bias in the avian fossil record in favor of inland water habitats.

  11. Geological and taphonomic context for the new hominin species Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa

    PubMed Central

    Dirks, Paul HGM; Berger, Lee R; Roberts, Eric M; Kramers, Jan D; Hawks, John; Randolph-Quinney, Patrick S; Elliott, Marina; Musiba, Charles M; Churchill, Steven E; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Schmid, Peter; Backwell, Lucinda R; Belyanin, Georgy A; Boshoff, Pedro; Hunter, K Lindsay; Feuerriegel, Elen M; Gurtov, Alia; Harrison, James du G; Hunter, Rick; Kruger, Ashley; Morris, Hannah; Makhubela, Tebogo V; Peixotto, Becca; Tucker, Steven

    2015-01-01

    We describe the physical context of the Dinaledi Chamber within the Rising Star cave, South Africa, which contains the fossils of Homo naledi. Approximately 1550 specimens of hominin remains have been recovered from at least 15 individuals, representing a small portion of the total fossil content. Macro-vertebrate fossils are exclusively H. naledi, and occur within clay-rich sediments derived from in situ weathering, and exogenous clay and silt, which entered the chamber through fractures that prevented passage of coarser-grained material. The chamber was always in the dark zone, and not accessible to non-hominins. Bone taphonomy indicates that hominin individuals reached the chamber complete, with disarticulation occurring during/after deposition. Hominins accumulated over time as older laminated mudstone units and sediment along the cave floor were eroded. Preliminary evidence is consistent with deliberate body disposal in a single location, by a hominin species other than Homo sapiens, at an as-yet unknown date. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.09561.001 PMID:26354289

  12. Reconstructing the ups and downs of primate brain evolution: implications for adaptive hypotheses and Homo floresiensis

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Brain size is a key adaptive trait. It is often assumed that increasing brain size was a general evolutionary trend in primates, yet recent fossil discoveries have documented brain size decreases in some lineages, raising the question of how general a trend there was for brains to increase in mass over evolutionary time. We present the first systematic phylogenetic analysis designed to answer this question. Results We performed ancestral state reconstructions of three traits (absolute brain mass, absolute body mass, relative brain mass) using 37 extant and 23 extinct primate species and three approaches to ancestral state reconstruction: parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian Markov-chain Monte Carlo. Both absolute and relative brain mass generally increased over evolutionary time, but body mass did not. Nevertheless both absolute and relative brain mass decreased along several branches. Applying these results to the contentious case of Homo floresiensis, we find a number of scenarios under which the proposed evolution of Homo floresiensis' small brain appears to be consistent with patterns observed along other lineages, dependent on body mass and phylogenetic position. Conclusions Our results confirm that brain expansion began early in primate evolution and show that increases occurred in all major clades. Only in terms of an increase in absolute mass does the human lineage appear particularly striking, with both the rate of proportional change in mass and relative brain size having episodes of greater expansion elsewhere on the primate phylogeny. However, decreases in brain mass also occurred along branches in all major clades, and we conclude that, while selection has acted to enlarge primate brains, in some lineages this trend has been reversed. Further analyses of the phylogenetic position of Homo floresiensis and better body mass estimates are required to confirm the plausibility of the evolution of its small brain mass. We find that for our

  13. Trace Fossil Analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hasiotis, Stephen T.

    2009-05-01

    Today, the study of trace fossils—ichnology—is an important subdiscipline of geology at the interface of paleontology and sedimentology, mostly because of the efforts of Adolf Seilacher. His ability to synthesize various aspects of ichnology and produce a hierarchy of marine ichna and sedimentary facies has made ichnology useful worldwide in interpreting paleodiversity, rates of sedimentation, oxygenation of bottom water and sediment pore water, and depositional energy. Seilacher's book Trace Fossil Analysis provides a glimpse into the mind, methodology, and insights of the father of modern ichnology, generated from his course notes as a professor and a guest lecturer. The title sounds misleading—readers looking for up-to-date principles and approaches to trace fossil analysis in marine and continental strata will be disappointed. In his preface, however, Seilacher clearly gives direction for the use of his text: “This is a course book—meaning that it is intended to confer not knowledge, but skill.” Thus, it is not meant as a total compilation of all trace fossils, ichnotaxonomy, ichnological interpretations, applications, or the most relevant and up-to-date references. Rather, it takes the reader on a personal journey, explaining how trace fossils are understood in the context of their three-dimensional (3-D) morphology and sedimentary facies.

  14. Fossil-Fired Boilers

    Energy Science and Technology Software Center (ESTSC)

    1993-09-23

    Boiler Performance Model (BPM 3.0S) is a set of computer programs developed to analyze the performance of fossil-fired utility boilers. The programs can model a wide variety of boiler designs, and can model coal, oil, or natural gas firing. The programs are intended for use by engineers performing analyses of alternative fuels, alternative operating modes, or boiler modifications.

  15. Fossil-energy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    1981-08-01

    Progress in the following areas of fossil energy is reported: physiochemical cleaning and recovery of fine coal; a systematic investigation of the organosulfur components in coal; microstructures of coal; rapid analysis of mineral content in coal; coal blending experiments; performance characteristics of heavy media cyclones using fly ash derived heavy media; briquetting solvent treated coal; and coal preparation and testing.

  16. Advanced fossil energy utilization

    SciTech Connect

    Shekhawat, D.; Berry, D.; Spivey, J.; Pennline, H.; Granite, E.

    2010-01-01

    This special issue of Fuel is a selection of papers presented at the symposium ‘Advanced Fossil Energy Utilization’ co-sponsored by the Fuels and Petrochemicals Division and Research and New Technology Committee in the 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Spring National Meeting Tampa, FL, on April 26–30, 2009.

  17. Giant trees from the Middle Pleistocene of Northern Thailand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Philippe, Marc; Boonchai, Nareerat; Ferguson, David K.; Jia, Hui; Songtham, Wickanet

    2013-04-01

    Giant fossil trees from the Middle Pleistocene of Thailand are described. The longest log is measured at 72.2 m. Morphological analysis suggests that the original trees towered to more than 100 m, in a wet tropical forest. As contemporaneous archaic pebble tools were reported in the same area, the subtropical rainforest was no impenetrable ecological barrier to a population of Homo erectus.

  18. Evolutionary reversals of limb proportions in early hominids? Evidence from KNM-ER 3735 (Homo habilis).

    PubMed

    Haeusler, Martin; McHenry, Henry M

    2007-10-01

    Upper-to-lower limb proportions of Homo habilis are often said to be more ape-like than those of its reputed ancestor, Australopithecus afarensis. Such proportions would either imply multiple evolutionary reversals or parallel development of a relatively short upper limb in A. afarensis and later Homo. However, assessments of limb proportions are complicated by the fragmentary nature of the two known H. habilis skeletons, OH 62 and KNM-ER 3735. Initially, KNM-ER 3735 was compared to A.L. 288-1 (A. afarensis) using a single modern human and chimpanzee as reference. Here, based on a larger comparative sample, we find that the relative size of the distal humerus, radial head, and shaft of both KNM-ER 3735 and A.L. 288-1 lie within the range of variation of modern humans, whereas their sacra are small as is the case for all early hominids. In addition, their manual phalanges are similar in having a gracile base but robust midshaft. Contrary to earlier studies, the fossils are not differentiable from each other statistically with respect to all features listed above. On the other hand, they differ in robusticity of the scapular spine and relative length of the radial neck. An exact randomization test suggests only a very low probability of finding a similar degree of difference within a single species of extant hominoids. In contrast to the consensus view, we conclude that A.L. 288-1 had a short, human-like forearm, whereas KNM-ER 3735 possessed a distinctly longer forearm and more powerful shoulder girdle. This interpretation fits with earlier conclusions that suggested human-like humerofemoral proportions but chimpanzee-like brachial proportions for Homo habilis. Thus, the scenario of a unidirectional, progressive change in limb proportions within the hominid lineage is not supported by our work. PMID:17688910

  19. The primitive wrist of Homo floresiensis and its implications for hominin evolution.

    PubMed

    Tocheri, Matthew W; Orr, Caley M; Larson, Susan G; Sutikna, Thomas; Jatmiko; Saptomo, E Wahyu; Due, Rokus Awe; Djubiantono, Tony; Morwood, Michael J; Jungers, William L

    2007-09-21

    Whether the Late Pleistocene hominin fossils from Flores, Indonesia, represent a new species, Homo floresiensis, or pathological modern humans has been debated. Analysis of three wrist bones from the holotype specimen (LB1) shows that it retains wrist morphology that is primitive for the African ape-human clade. In contrast, Neandertals and modern humans share derived wrist morphology that forms during embryogenesis, which diminishes the probability that pathology could result in the normal primitive state. This evidence indicates that LB1 is not a modern human with an undiagnosed pathology or growth defect; rather, it represents a species descended from a hominin ancestor that branched off before the origin of the clade that includes modern humans, Neandertals, and their last common ancestor. PMID:17885135

  20. Sustainability of Fossil Fuels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lackner, K. S.

    2002-05-01

    For a sustainable world economy, energy is a bottleneck. Energy is at the basis of a modern, technological society, but unlike materials it cannot be recycled. Energy or more precisely "negentropy" (the opposite of entropy) is always consumed. Thus, one either accepts the use of large but finite resources or must stay within the limits imposed by dilute but self-renewing resources like sunlight. The challenge of sustainable energy is exacerbated by likely growth in world energy demand due to increased population and increased wealth. Most of the world still has to undergo the transition to a wealthy, stable society with the near zero population growth that characterizes a modern industrial society. This represents a huge unmet demand. If ten billion people were to consume energy like North Americans do today, world energy demand would be ten times higher. In addition, technological advances while often improving energy efficiency tend to raise energy demand by offering more opportunity for consumption. Energy consumption still increases at close to the 2.3% per year that would lead to a tenfold increase over the course of the next century. Meeting future energy demands while phasing out fossil fuels appears extremely difficult. Instead, the world needs sustainable or nearly sustainable fossil fuels. I propose the following definition of sustainable under which fossil fuels would well qualify: The use of a technology or resource is sustainable if the intended and unintended consequences will not force its abandonment within a reasonable planning horizon. Of course sustainable technologies must not be limited by resource depletion but this is only one of many concerns. Environmental impacts, excessive land use, and other constraints can equally limit the use of a technology and thus render it unsustainable. In the foreseeable future, fossil fuels are not limited by resource depletion. However, environmental concerns based on climate change and other environmental

  1. PELDOR in rotationally symmetric homo-oligomers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Giannoulis, Angeliki; Ward, Richard; Branigan, Emma; Naismith, James H.; Bode, Bela E.

    2013-10-01

    Nanometre distance measurements by pulsed electron-electron double resonance (PELDOR) spectroscopy have become an increasingly important tool in structural biology. The theoretical underpinning of the experiment is well defined for systems containing two nitroxide spin-labels (spin pairs); however, recently experiments have been reported on homo-oligomeric membrane proteins consisting of up to eight spin-labelled monomers. We have explored the theory behind these systems by examining model systems based on multiple spins arranged in rotationally symmetric polygons. The results demonstrate that with a rising number of spins within the test molecule, increasingly strong distortions appear in distance distributions obtained from an analysis based on the simple spin pair approach. These distortions are significant over a range of system sizes and remain so even when random errors are introduced into the symmetry of the model. We present an alternative approach to the extraction of distances on such systems based on a minimisation that properly treats multi-spin correlations. We demonstrate the utility of this approach on a spin-labelled mutant of the heptameric Mechanosensitive Channel of Small Conductance of E. coli.

  2. Early stone technology on Flores and its implications for Homo floresiensis.

    PubMed

    Brumm, Adam; Aziz, Fachroel; van den Bergh, Gert D; Morwood, Michael J; Moore, Mark W; Kurniawan, Iwan; Hobbs, Douglas R; Fullagar, Richard

    2006-06-01

    In the Soa Basin of central Flores, eastern Indonesia, stratified archaeological sites, including Mata Menge, Boa Lesa and Kobatuwa (Fig. 1), contain stone artefacts associated with the fossilized remains of Stegodon florensis, Komodo dragon, rat and various other taxa. These sites have been dated to 840-700 kyr bp (thousand years before present). The authenticity of the Soa Basin artefacts and their provenance have been demonstrated by previous work, but to quell lingering doubts, here we describe the context, attributes and production modes of 507 artefacts excavated at Mata Menge. We also note specific similarities, and apparent technological continuity, between the Mata Menge stone artefacts and those excavated from Late Pleistocene levels at Liang Bua cave, 50 km to the west. The latter artefacts, dated to between 95-74 and 12 kyr ago, are associated with the remains of a dwarfed descendent of S. florensis, Komodo dragon, rat and a small-bodied hominin species, Homo floresiensis, which had a brain size of about 400 cubic centimetres. The Mata Menge evidence negates claims that stone artefacts associated with H. floresiensis are so complex that they must have been made by modern humans (Homo sapiens). PMID:16738657

  3. Crystal Structure of Homo Sapiens Kynureninase†

    PubMed Central

    Lima, Santiago; Kristoforov, Roman; Momany, Cory; Phillips, Robert S.

    2008-01-01

    Kynureninase is a member of a large family of catalytically diverse but structurally homologous pyridoxal-5′-phosphate dependent enzymes known as the aspartate aminotransferase superfamily or α-family. The Homo sapiens and other eukaryotic constitutive kynureninases preferentially catalyze the hydrolytic cleavage of 3-hydroxy-L-kynurenine to produce 3-hydroxyanthranilate and L-alanine, while L-kynurenine is the substrate of many prokaryotic inducible kynureninases. The human enzyme was cloned with an N-terminal hexahistidine tag, expressed, and purified from a bacterial expression system using Ni-metal ion affinity chromatography. Kinetic characterization of the recombinant enzyme reveals classic Michaelis-Menten behavior, with a Km= 28.3 ± 1.9 μM, and a specific activity of 1.75 μmol min-1 mg-1 for 3-hydroxy-DL-kynurenine. Crystals of recombinant kynureninase were obtained that diffracted to 2.0 Å, and the atomic structure of the PLP-bound holoenzyme was solved by molecular replacement using the Pseudomonas fluorescens kynureninase structure (PDB accession 1qz9) as the phasing model. A structural superposition with the P. fluorescens kynureninase revealed that these two structures resemble the “open” and “closed” conformations of aspartate aminotransferase. The comparison illustrates the dynamic nature of these proteins’ small domains and reveals a role for Arg-434 similar to that in other AAT α-family members. Docking of 3-hydroxy-L-kynurenine into the human kynureninase active site suggests that Asn-333 and His-102 are involved in substrate binding and molecular discrimination between inducible and constitutive kynureninase substrates. PMID:17300176

  4. Internal nasal floor configuration in Homo with special reference to the evolution of Neandertal facial form.

    PubMed

    Franciscus, Robert G

    2003-06-01

    The presence of a steeply sloping or depressed nasal floor within the nasal cavity of Neandertals is frequently mentioned as a likely specialization or autapomorphy. The depressed nasal floor has also been seen as contributing to a relatively more capacious nasal cavity in Neandertals, which is tied to cold-climate respiratory adaptation and energetics. These observations have been limited largely to a relatively few intact crania, and the character states associated with this trait have not been as precisely codified or analyzed as those published for Plio-Pleistocene hominins (McCollum et al., 1993, J. Hum. Evol. 24, 87; McCollum, 2000, Am. J. Phys. Anthrop. 112, 275). This study examines the internal nasal floor topography in complete crania and isolated maxillae in European, west Asian, and African fossil Homo (n=158) including 25 Neandertals, and a wide range of recent humans from Europe, the Near East, and Africa (n=522). The configuration of the internal nasal floor relative to the nasal cavity entrance is codified as: 1) level, forming a smooth continuous plane; 2) sloped or mildly stepped; or 3) bilevel with a pronounced vertical depression. The frequency of these nasal floor configurations, and their relationship to both nasal margin cresting patterning and a comprehensive set of nasofacial metrics is examined. Neandertals show a high frequency of the bilevel (depressed) configuration in both adults and subadults (80%), but this configuration is also present in lower frequencies in Middle Pleistocene African, Late Pleistocene non-Neandertal (Skhul, Qafzeh), and European Later Upper Paleolithic samples (15%-50%). The bilevel configuration is also present in lower frequencies (ca. 10%) in all recent human samples, but attains nearly 20% in some sub-Saharan African samples. Across extinct and extant Homo (excluding Neandertals), internal nasal floor configuration is not associated with piriform aperture nasal margin patterning, but the two are strongly

  5. Characterizing the Evolutionary Path(s) to Early Homo

    PubMed Central

    Schroeder, Lauren; Roseman, Charles C.; Cheverud, James M.; Ackermann, Rebecca R.

    2014-01-01

    Numerous studies suggest that the transition from Australopithecus to Homo was characterized by evolutionary innovation, resulting in the emergence and coexistence of a diversity of forms. However, the evolutionary processes necessary to drive such a transition have not been examined. Here, we apply statistical tests developed from quantitative evolutionary theory to assess whether morphological differences among late australopith and early Homo species in Africa have been shaped by natural selection. Where selection is demonstrated, we identify aspects of morphology that were most likely under selective pressure, and determine the nature (type, rate) of that selection. Results demonstrate that selection must be invoked to explain an Au. africanus—Au. sediba—Homo transition, while transitions from late australopiths to various early Homo species that exclude Au. sediba can be achieved through drift alone. Rate tests indicate that selection is largely directional, acting to rapidly differentiate these taxa. Reconstructions of patterns of directional selection needed to drive the Au. africanus—Au. sediba—Homo transition suggest that selection would have affected all regions of the skull. These results may indicate that an evolutionary path to Homo without Au. sediba is the simpler path and/or provide evidence that this pathway involved more reliance on cultural adaptations to cope with environmental change. PMID:25470780

  6. Population Genomics Reveals Seahorses (Hippocampus erectus) of the Western Mid-Atlantic Coast to Be Residents Rather than Vagrants

    PubMed Central

    Boehm, J. T.; Waldman, John; Robinson, John D.; Hickerson, Michael J.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding population structure and areas of demographic persistence and transients is critical for effective species management. However, direct observational evidence to address the geographic scale and delineation of ephemeral or persistent populations for many marine fishes is limited. The Lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus) can be commonly found in three western Atlantic zoogeographic provinces, though inhabitants of the temperate northern Virginia Province are often considered tropical vagrants that only arrive during warm seasons from the southern provinces and perish as temperatures decline. Although genetics can locate regions of historical population persistence and isolation, previous evidence of Virginia Province persistence is only provisional due to limited genetic sampling (i.e., mitochondrial DNA and five nuclear loci). To test alternative hypotheses of historical persistence versus the ephemerality of a northern Virginia Province population we used a RADseq generated dataset consisting of 11,708 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) sampled from individuals collected from the eastern Gulf of Mexico to Long Island, NY. Concordant results from genomic analyses all infer three genetically divergent subpopulations, and strongly support Virginia Province inhabitants as a genetically diverged and a historically persistent ancestral gene pool. These results suggest that individuals that emerge in coastal areas during the warm season can be considered “local” and supports offshore migration during the colder months. This research demonstrates how a large number of genes sampled across a geographical range can capture the diversity of coalescent histories (across loci) while inferring population history. Moreover, these results clearly demonstrate the utility of population genomic data to infer peripheral subpopulation persistence in difficult-to-observe species. PMID:25629166

  7. The Sima de los Huesos (Burgos, northern Spain): palaeoenvironment and habitats of Homo heidelbergensis during the Middle Pleistocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    García, Nuria; Arsuaga, Juan Luis

    2011-06-01

    Interpreting how environmental dynamics respond to global climate change and how this has affected human evolution and dispersal is an on-going topic of debate. During the early Middle Pleistocene (˜0.6-0.4 Ma), as compared to earlier, environmental conditions were relatively more stable, with longer climatic cycles alternating between open and forested landscapes. During this interval, humans spread successfully providing an important number of fossil sites where fossils or tools are reported. The Atapuerca-Sima de los Huesos (Burgos, northern Spain) site (Atapuerca-SH) is one of the earliest localities with hominin evidence in the European Middle Pleistocene, with the most important accumulation of Homo heidelbergensis so far. We have analyzed the abundant faunal record from Sima de los Huesos, which is mainly comprised of carnivores, in order to approach an interpretation of the palaeoenvironmental circumstances where these hominids inhabited within the Sierra. Other sites from Sierra de Atapuerca referred to the same Faunal Unit (FU 6), are roughly contemporaneous, and include important ungulates, which are here analyzed with Atapuerca-SH. Additional information provided by isotopic analysis helps elucidate the ancient ecology of taxa present in Sima de los Huesos allowing for an accurate portrayal of the setting in which humans lived. The timing of the spread of Homo heidelbergensis is dominated by a relative climatic and environmental stability and points to a landscape dominated by savannah-like open woodland.

  8. Cycles in fossil diversity

    SciTech Connect

    Rohde, Robert A.; Muller, Richard A.

    2004-10-20

    It is well-known that the diversity of life appears to fluctuate during the course the Phanerozoic, the eon during which hard shells and skeletons left abundant fossils (0-542 Ma). Using Sepkoski's compendium of the first and last stratigraphic appearances of 36380 marine genera, we report a strong 62 {+-} 3 Myr cycle, which is particularly strong in the shorter-lived genera. The five great extinctions enumerated by Raup and Sepkoski may be an aspect of this cycle. Because of the high statistical significance, we also consider contributing environmental factors and possible causes.

  9. Fossil Microorganisms in Archaean

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Astafleva, Marina; Hoover, Richard; Rozanov, Alexei; Vrevskiy, A.

    2006-01-01

    Ancient Archean and Proterozoic rocks are the model objects for investigation of rocks comprising astromaterials. The first of Archean fossil microorganisms from Baltic shield have been reported at the last SPIE Conference in 2005. Since this confeence biomorphic structures have been revealed in Archean rocks of Karelia. It was determined that there are 3 types of such bion structures: 1. structures found in situ, in other words microorganisms even-aged with rock matrix, that is real Archean fossils biomorphic structures, that is to say forms inhabited early formed rocks, and 3. younger than Archean-Protherozoic minerali microorganisms, that is later contamination. We made attempt to differentiate these 3 types of findings and tried to understand of burial of microorganisms. The structures belongs (from our point of view) to the first type, or real Archean, forms were under examination. Practical investigation of ancient microorganisms from Green-Stone-Belt of Northern Karelia turns to be very perspective. It shows that even in such ancient time as Archean ancient diverse world existed. Moreover probably such relatively highly organized cyanobacteria and perhaps eukaryotic formes existed in Archean world.

  10. Brain size and thermoregulation during the evolution of the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    Naya, Daniel E; Naya, Hugo; Lessa, Enrique P

    2016-01-01

    Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the evolution of an energetically costly brain in the genus Homo. Some of these hypotheses are based on the correlation between climatic factors and brain size recorded for this genus during the last millions of years. In this study, we propose a complementary climatic hypothesis that is based on the mechanistic connection between temperature, thermoregulation, and size of internal organs in endothermic species. We hypothesized that global cooling during the last 3.2 my may have imposed an increased energy expenditure for thermoregulation, which in the case of hominids could represent a driver for the evolution of an expanded brain, or at least, it could imply the relaxation of a negative selection pressure acting upon this costly organ. To test this idea, here we (1) assess variation in the energetic costs of thermoregulation and brain maintenance for the last 3.2 my, and (2) evaluate the relationship between Earth temperature and brain maintenance cost for the same period, taking into account the effects of body mass and fossil age. We found that: (1) the energetic cost associated with brain enlargement represents an important fraction (between 47.5% and 82.5%) of the increase in energy needed for thermoregulation; (2) fossil age is a better predictor of brain maintenance cost than Earth temperature, suggesting that (at least) another factor correlated with time was more relevant than ambient temperature in brain size evolution; and (3) there is a significant negative correlation between the energetic cost of brain and Earth temperature, even after accounting for the effect of body mass and fossil age. Thus, our results expand the current energetic framework for the study of brain size evolution in our lineage by suggesting that a fall in Earth temperature during the last millions of years may have facilitated brain enlargement. PMID:26435349