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Hominin Overview






Hominids or Hominins?

The most commonly used recent definitions are:

Hominid ‚Äď the group consisting of all modern and extinct Great Apes (that is, modern humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans plus all their immediate ancestors).

Hominin ‚Äď the group consisting of modern humans, extinct human species and all our immediate ancestors (including members of the genera Homo, Australopithecus, Paranthropus and Ardipithecus).

Definition above: https://australianmuseum.net.au/






hominin tree

Tracing our origins - an overview of Hominins

Source and text: Display at The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD


We have evolved over millions of years, through a slow and complex process of change. The fossil record shows that the human family tree is made up of many ancient relatives, and that ape-like ancestors evolved into us.

This wall shows the ancient relatives we know about so far, and when they lived. These species evolved after our human branch split fromt he line that led to the chimpanzee and the bonobo. This split is estimate to have happened about seven million years ago.





Sahelanthropus tchadensis

Sahelanthropus


SahelanthropusSahelanthropus


Sahelanthropus tchadensis

All fossils of this species have been recovered from Toros-Menalla in the Djurab desert of Chad, Africa.

Age has been established as 7 000 000 BP - 6 000 000 BP. This is a key date, as it is about the time that scientists believe the human line diverged from the ape line. The site lacked volcanic ash layers so was not suited to using radiometric dating techniques. Faunal analysis was used instead. This was possible because many of the fossil animals found at the site were identical to specimens that had been radiometrically dated elsewhere.

Dimensions: 183 x 105 x 97 mm.

Discovered in 2001 by Alain Beauvilain, Fanone Gongdibe, Mahamat Adoum and Ahounta Djimdoumalbaye, the original is now located at Musée National N'Djamena, N'Djamena (Chad), BEAC.

Photo (left): Don Hitchcock 2018
Source (left): Facsimile, display at The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD
Photo (right): Didier Descouens
Source (right): Specimen of of Anthropology Molecular and Imaging Synthesis of Toulouse, described as the cast of the Sahelanthropus tchadensis holotype cranium TM 266-01-060-1, dubbed Touma√Į, in facio-lateral view.
Permission: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. This file is copyrighted and has been released under a license which is incompatible with Facebook's licensing terms. It is not permitted to upload this file to Facebook.
Text: Adapted from https://australianmuseum.net.au/
Additional text: Wikipedia








Ardipithecus kadabba

location


Sahelanthropus
Ardipithecus kadabba

( I have not yet come across a report of a skull being found - Don )

Middle Awash Valley, Ethiopia, 5 800 000 BP - 5 200 000 BP, discovered in 1997.

Ape-like build- similar to modern chimpanzee in both size and build; large canines; human-like features include lack of canine honing and large molars, as well as big toe bone that suggests bipedalism.

Discovered in 1997 by Yohannes Haile-Selassie.
Catalog: Type specimen, ALA-VP-2/10
Source and text: Hominid Fossils, ANP 440 - Michigan State University, http://projects.leadr.msu.edu/hominidfossils/exhibits/show/pre-australopiths/item/81
Additional text: https://ipfs.io, at: http://tiny.cc/8wlncz
Resource: Haile-Selassie (2001)








Ardipithecus ramidus

location


ardipithecus_ramidus

Ardipithecus ramidus

4 400 000 BP - 4 200 000 BP

Hundreds of pieces of fossilised bone were recovered during 1992-1994, by a team led by Yohannes Haile-Selassie, all from localities west of the Awash River, in Aramis, Ethiopia. The finds number over 110 specimens and represent about 35 individual members of this species. Most of the remains are dental, but some skull and limb bones were also found. A partial humerus (arm bone) indicates that this species was smaller than the average Australopithecus afarensis.

In 2005, the remains of 9 individuals were recovered from As Duma in northern Ethiopia. The remains mostly consist of teeth and jaw fragments, but also some bones from the hands and feet.


ARA-VP-6/1 teeth: This is the holotype for this species. It consists of teeth and jaw bone and was found in Aramis in 1993.

'Ardi' ARA-VP-6/500: A partial skeleton found in 1994, consisting of about 125 pieces, was described and published in 2009. It is the oldest known skeleton of a human ancestor. The individual is believed to be a female and is nicknamed 'Ardi'. She weighed about 50kg and stood about 120cm tall.The skeleton was in extremely poor condition and it took the team 15 years to excavate, scan, make virtual reconstructions, assemble and then analyse. The results were hugely significant in terms of how we view the evolution of the earliest hominins and the physical appearance of the last common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees. The skeleton does not look much like a chimp or gorilla or have the expected 'transitional' features. Instead, it may well preserve some of the characteristics of the last chimp-human ancestor. Analysis of the skeleton reveals that humans did not evolve from knuckle-walking apes, as was long believed.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
Catalog: ARA-VP-6/1, ARA-VP-6/500, MRD-VP-1/1
Text: Adapted from https://australianmuseum.net.au/
Source: Facsimile, Vienna Natural History Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien








Australopithecus anamensis

location




Australopithecus anamensis Australopithecus anamensis


Australopithecus anamensis
Australopithecus anamensis

3 800 000 BP

About 3.8 million years ago, a distant human relative took his final steps. Swept into a river delta, his head was buried in sand that, over time, hardened into a stone helmet. The skull fossilised within the sandstone, to the delight of the scientists who discovered the cranium in 2016.

Excavations at Woranso-Mille in Ethiopia, the site of an ancient river and lake system where anthropologists found the fossil, have produced a trove of bones from ancient primates. Yet this skull is 'one of the most significant specimens we've found so far' Yohannes Haile-Selassie, an anthropologist at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and a member of the international team that studied the remains, told reporters on Tuesday.


The first piece of MRD, the upper jaw, was found by Ali Bereino (a local Afar worker) on February 10, 2016, at a locality known as Miro Dora, Mille District of the Afar Regional State. The specimen was exposed on the surface, and further investigation of the area resulted in the recovery of the rest of the cranium. 'I couldn't believe my eyes when I spotted the rest of the cranium. It was a eureka moment and a dream come true,' said Haile-Selassie.

The skull, probably a male's, is from a species called Australopithecus anamensis, as Haile-Selassie and his colleagues report in a pair of papers published Wednesday in the journal Nature. When compared with other ancient bones, the cranium could change how anthropologists view a critical point in the evolution of humanlike primates.

The primates sported a mixture of traits both primitive and humanlike. The species almost certainly walked on two legs, yet they had long arms and strong hands, suggesting they were capable climbers. The fossil is now at the National Museum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Photo (top left): Dale Omori/Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Proximal source and text: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
Additional text: https://www.science20.com/news_staff/the_face_of_lucys_ancestor_38_million_years_ago-241172
Photo (top right): unattributed, possibly also Dale Omori/Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Proximal source: https://theconversation.com/how-the-skull-of-humanitys-oldest-known-ancestor-is-changing-our-understanding-of-evolution-122926
Photo (bottom left): Matt Crow, courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Facial reconstruction by John Gurche made possible through generous contribution by Susan and George Klein
Proximal source: https://theconversation.com/how-the-skull-of-humanitys-oldest-known-ancestor-is-changing-our-understanding-of-evolution-122926
Resource: Saylor et al. (2019)








Kenyanthropus platyops

location




ardipithecus_ramidus
Kenyanthropus platyops

3 500 000 BP - 3 200 000 BP

Discovered in Lake Turkana, Kenya in 1999 by Justus Erus, who was part of Meave Leakey's team.

Leakey proposes that the fossil represents an entirely new hominin species and genus, while others classify it as a species of Australopithecus, Australopithecus platyops, others as a species of Homo, Homo platyops, and yet others interpret it as an individual of Australopithecus afarensis.

Fragments of a skull (KNM-WT 40000) and teeth were found in 1999 and reconstructed. Another specimen tentatively classified into this species is a partial left upper jaw (KNM-WT 38350) was discovered in 1998.


The finders believe the skull shares similarities with a later species, Homo rudolfensis, including the relatively flat face and the lack of a depression behind the brow ridge, indicating it may be an ancestor of Homo. If this analysis is correct then it challenges the place of Australopithecus as a direct human ancestor. However, the acceptance of this new species is unresolved. Many experts argue that this skull was extremely distorted and has been badly reconstructed. They claim it is a Kenyan variant of Australopithecus afarensis.

More material needs to be recovered, especially a skull with no apparent distortion, in order to resolve this debate.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
Catalog: KNM-WT 40000, KNM-WT 38350
Text: Adapted from https://australianmuseum.net.au/ and Wikipedia
Source: Facsimile, display at The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD








Australopithecus afarensis

location




Australopithecus afarensis Australopithecus afarensis Australopithecus afarensis


Australopithecus afarensis

3 900 000 BP - 2 800 000 BP

A.L. 442-2, Cranium, facsimile, Hadar, Ethiopia

This species is one of the best known of our ancestors due to a number of major discoveries including a set of fossil footprints and a fairly complete fossil skeleton of a female nicknamed 'Lucy'.

During the 1970s, two fossil hunting teams began uncovering evidence of ancient human ancestors in east Africa. One team, co-led by Donald Johanson, was working at Hadar in Ethiopia. The other team led by Mary Leakey, was over 1 500 kilometres away at Laetoli in Tanzania. Fossils discovered at the two sites were found to have very similar features and ages but they did not match the fossils of any species known at that time. A new species name, Australopithecus afarensis, was therefore created for them in 1978. This species is now represented by several hundred fossils from east Africa.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source and text: Facsimile, Vienna Natural History Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien
Additional text: https://australianmuseum.net.au/


Afarensis
Australopithecus afarensis

Soft tissue reconstruction of a male (left) based on the fossil A.L. 444-2, Hadar, Ethiopia, ca 3 million years BP.

Soft tissue reconstruction of a female (right) based on the fossils A.L. 288 1 and A.L. 417, Hadar, Ethiopia, ca 3.2 million years BP.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Artist: Atelier √Člisabeth Daynès, Paris
Source and text: Facsimile, Vienna Natural History Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien




lucyA more detailed page on Australopithecus afarensis, an extinct hominid that lived between 3.9 and 2.9 million years ago. .






Australopithecus africanus

location




taung
Australopithecus africanus, Taung child.

Circa 2 300 000 BP

Cranial fragments and endocast, TAUNG 1, South Africa.

The Taung Child is a partial skull and brain endocast discovered in 1924 in Taung, South Africa by Raymond Dart. This 2.3 million-year-old skull of a young child is the 'type specimen' or official representative of this species. It was the first fossil of a human ancestor ever found in Africa and was also the first to be classified in the genus Australopithecus. We know this individual was a young child because its first molar teeth were in the process of erupting from the jaw.


Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source and text: Facsimile, Vienna Natural History Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien
Additional text: https://australianmuseum.net.au/


mrs pies


Humans' distant ancestor Australopithecus africanus had a unique approach to raising their young, as shown in new research published in Nature.

Geochemical analysis of four teeth shows they exclusively breastfed infants for about 6-9 months, before supplementing breast milk with varying amounts of solid food until they were 5-6 years old. The balance between milk and solid food in this period varied cyclically, probably in response to seasonal changes in food availability.

This knowledge is useful on several fronts. From an evolutionary point of view, it helps us understand the particular biological and behavioural adaptations of Australopithecus africanus compared to other extinct human ancestors and modern humans.

However, breastfeeding for up to 5-6 years is metabolically expensive ‚Äď it requires a certain input of calories for the lactating mother. Using milk as a supplemental food for older offspring may have hampered the ability of the A. africanus species to successfully survive during a period of substantially changing climate.

Perhaps this way of life hastened the extinction of A. africanus around 2 million years ago.

Photo and text: Luca Fiorenza, https://theconversation.com/, at https://tinyurl.com/y4n2xjlk




africanusA more detailed page on Australopithecus africanus. In common with the older Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus africanus was of slender build, or gracile, and was thought to have been a direct ancestor of modern humans. Fossil remains indicate that Australopithecus africanus was significantly more like modern humans than Australopithecus afarensis, with a more human-like cranium permitting a larger brain and more humanoid facial features.








Australopithecus garhi

location




garhi
Australopithecus garhi

Circa 2 500 000 BP

The type specimen (BOU-VP-12/130) is a partial cranium discovered in 1997 by Yohannes Haile-Selassie in Bouri, Ethiopia. A second cranium, lower jaws and a partial skeleton have been found at nearby sites. These may represent the same species, however the discoverers point out that the skeletal remains need not belong to the same species as the skulls. This species was announced in 1999.

Brain size about 450 cc, similar to other australopithecines. Body size and shape probably slightly larger than A. afarensis. Very large canines, molars and premolars, thick tooth enamel, rectangular or U-shaped dental arcade diastema (gap between canines and incisors) often present in the upper jaw. This is a primitive feature. Like many australopithecines, including some A. afarensis, it has a sagittal crest for anchoring large jaw muscles


A changing climate had thinned the forests that once dominated this region, and savannah grasslands were becoming widespread. It most likely ate plant material and possibly some meat. If the antelope bones found at the site were butchered by this species, then they must have included significant amounts of meat and marrow in their diet.

The skeletal remains were found associated with antelope bones bearing cut marks, apparently from stone tools. Stone tools were not found at this site, but at the nearby, contemporaneous site Gona. These are the earliest dated stone tools that have been found, but may have been left by another species.

Photo: Ji-Elle
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence Text: Adapted from https://australianmuseum.net.au/








Australopithecus aethiopicus

location




Paranthropus aethiopicus
Paranthropus aethiopicus / Australopithecus aethiopicus, KNM-WT 17000.

Circa 2 500 000 BP.

Cranium with no lower jaw, West Turkana, Kenya. Known as the 'Black Skull' due to the dark coloration of the bone, caused by high levels of manganese in the deposit.

The skull is dated to 2 500 000 BP, older than the later forms of robust australopithecines. Anthropologists suggest that Australopithecus robustus lived between 2 700 000 BP and 2 500 000 BP. The features are quite primitive and share many traits with Australopithecus afarensis, thus Australopithecus aethiopicusis likely to be a direct descendant. As well as its face being as prognathic (projecting) as Australopithecus afarensis, its brain size was also quite small at 410 cm3

Photograph: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source and text: Facsimile, Vienna Natural History Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien
Additional text: Wikipedia




Paranthropus aethiopicus
Paranthropus aethiopicus / Australopithecus aethiopicus, KNM-WT 17000.

Circa 2 500 000 BP.

Cranium with no lower jaw, West Turkana, Kenya.

Paranthropus aethiopicus is considered a megadont archaic hominin, the term megadont referring to the huge size of the postcanine tooth crowns. The initial discovery was a toothless adult mandible in the Shungura formation of the Omo region of Ethiopia in 1967 (Omo 18.18). The ash layers above and below the fossils give an approximate date of 2 500 000 BP - 2 300 000 BP. There is only one mostly complete skull for this hominin, so it is hard to make proper inferences about physical characteristics. However, it can be said that the available skull is similar to Paranthropus boisei, although the incisors are larger, the face more prognathic (projecting), and the cranial base less flexed.


The Black Skull was discovered in 1985 in Kenya by Alan Walker.

Australopithecus aethiopicus has notable features that differ from the other robust australopithecines, including a larger zygomatic arch, extended ramus of the mandible, and a more prognathic face. These differences may have been developed during the evolution of aethiopicus, but it may also suggest that Australopithecus aethiopicus has a different phylogenetic history than Australopithecus robustus and Australopithecus boisei.

Photograph: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source and text: Facsimile, Vienna Natural History Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien
Additional text: Wikipedia




Paranthropus aethiopicus
Paranthropus aethiopicus / Australopithecus aethiopicus, type specimen, OMO 18-1967-18.

Circa 2 600 000 BP.

This lower jaw was discovered in 1967 by Camille Arambourg and Yves Coppens at the Omo River location, Omo Valley, Ethiopia.

Paranthropus aethiopicus was first proposed in 1967 to describe a toothless partial mandible (Omo 18) found in Ethiopia by French palaeontologists. Lower jaw and teeth fragments have been uncovered. Paranthropus aethiopicus had a large sagittal crest and zygomatic arch adapted for heavy chewing (as in gorilla skulls).


Not much is known about this species since the best evidence comes from the 'Black Skull' and this jaw. There is not enough material to make an assessment of how tall they were, but they may have been as tall as Australopithecus afarensis.

Photograph: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source and text: Facsimile, Vienna Natural History Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien
Additional text: Wikipedia




aethiopicus A more detailed page on Australopithecus aethiopicus, which is in the group known as the robust australopithecines. The robust australopithecines are split into three species, Australopithecus aethiopicus, Australopithecus robustus, and Australopithecus boisei. There has been an ongoing debate over the exact phyletic origins of each of these species. The robust australopithecines share many characteristics of the cranium and mandible, perhaps suggesting a shared evolutionary development.






Australopithecus boisei

location




boisei
Paranthropus boisei

OH 5 (cranium)
Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
1.8 million years BP
Discovered by M.D. Leakey, 1959
Facsimile

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
Source: Facsimile, display at The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD




Boisei
Paranthropus boisei / Australopithecus boisei, aka 'Nutcracker Man', KNM-ER 406, L7a-125, OH5, 1 700 000 BP.

Adult male with an estimated cranial capacity of 510 cc, from Koobi Fora, Kenya, Omo, Ethiopia

( note that this valuable facsimile includes the mandible, which is not present on other facsimiles of this particular find. It was not part of the original find, but was added from another fossil - Don )

Discovered in 1959 in Tanzania by Mary Leakey.

Koobi Fora refers primarily to a region around Koobi Fora Ridge, located on the eastern shore of Lake Turkana. The ridge itself is an outcrop of mainly Pliocene/Pleistocene sediments. It is composed of claystones, siltstones, and sandstones that preserve numerous fossils of terrestrial mammals, including early hominin species. Presently, the ridge is being eroded into a badlands terrain by a series of ephemeral rivers that drain into the northeast portion of modern Lake Turkana. In 1968 Richard Leakey established the Koobi Fora Base Camp on a large sandspit projecting into the lake near the ridge, which he called the Koobi Fora Spit.


A subsequent survey and numerous excavations at multiple sites established the region as a source of hominin fossils shedding light on the evolution of man over the previous 4.2 million years. Far exceeding the number of hominin fossils are the non-hominin fossils which give a detailed view of the fauna and flora as far back as the Miocene.

KNM-ER 406 is a nearly complete adult male Paranthropus boisei. It has the facial and cranial features typical of the species such as massive cheek teeth, and the widely flaring zygomatic arches with a forward placed connection to the other facial bones, and large cheek bones supported powerful chewing muscles - the latter two features giving it a 'dish-shaped' face. Other muscles extended from his jaw to the sagittal crest at the top of his head. The cranial capacity of this skull has been estimated at 510 cc.

Catalog: Australopithecus boisei, KNM-ER 406, L7a-125
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source and text: Facsimile, LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn, Germany
Additional text: Wikipedia, http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/fossils/knm-er-406




nutcracker man A more detailed page on Australopithecus boisei, an early hominin. It lived in Eastern Africa during the Pleistocene epoch from about 2.3 until about 1.2 million years ago. It had a skull highly specialised for heavy chewing and several traits seen in modern day gorillas. It inhabited savannah woodland territories.






Australopithecus robustus

location




Australopithecus robustus
Australopithecus robustus / Paranthropus robustus

1 800 000 BP.

The original complete skull (without mandible) of Paranthropus robustus (SK-48 Swartkrans (26¬į00'S 27¬į45'E), Gauteng) was discovered in Kromdraai, South Africa.

Collection of the Transvaal Museum, Northern Flagship Institute, Pretoria South Africa.

Discovered by R. Broom and J.T. Robinson, 1947


The species Australopithecus robustus was first discovered and named by the eminent Dr. Robert Broom. Broom made a habit of buying fossil remains from a lime quarry worker, and on a particular visit on June 8, 1938, Broom bought a maxillary fragment containing a first molar. The shape and the size of the molar convinced Broom that this was a different species than Australopithecus africanus (Broom’s transvaalensis), and upon further investigation, found that the specimen had been found by a young boy who worked in the cave as a guide on Sundays. Broom searched for the boy (Gert Terblanche) and found him at school. Broom lectured the boy’s class on the cave sites of the area, and was then led to the place of the specimen’s discovery, Kromdraai. Broom found several more cranial and mandibular fragments associated with the original maxillary specimen, and this partial cranium (TM 1517) became the type specimen for Australopithecus robustus.

Particularly regarding cranial features, the development of Paranthropus robustus seemed to be in the direction of a 'heavy-chewing complex'. On account of the definitive traits associated with this 'robust' line of australopithecine, anthropologist Robert Broom established the genus Paranthropus and placed this species in it.

Paranthropus robustus is generally dated to have lived between 2.0 and 1.2 million years ago. It had large jaws and jaw muscles with the accompanying sagittal crest, and post-canine teeth that were adapted to serve in the dry environment they lived in.

Photo: José Braga, Didier Descouens
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Not licensed for use on Facebook.
Text: Western Australian Museum, http://archaeologyinfo.com/australopithecus-robustus/


robustus robustus


Australopithecus robustus

DNH 7, 'Eurydice'.

DNH 7 is the most complete skull of Paranthropus robustus ever discovered, and a rare female specimen from the Drimolen Main Quarry.

( Note that there is no obvious sagittal crest on this specimen - Don )

(left) Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
(left) Source: Facsimile, display at The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD
(right) Photo: Dr Herries, photographed at the University of the Witwatersrand
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license
Text: Wikipedia




robustus
Australopithecus robustus

SK 46 is the fossilised partial cranium and palate of Australopithecus / Paranthropus robustus. It was discovered in Swartkrans, South Africa by local quarrymen and Robert Broom in 1949.

Circa 2 000 000 BP - 1 500 000 BP.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source and text: Facsimile, Vienna Natural History Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien Additional text: Wikipedia




africanusThis is a more detailed page on Australopithecus robustus / Paranthropus robustus, which had a head shaped a bit like a gorilla, with a more massive built jaw and teeth in comparison to hominins within the Homo lineage. The sagittal crest on top of the skull acted as an anchor for large chewing muscles.






Australopithecus sediba

location




Australopithecus sediba
Australopithecus sediba

Cranium of the Malapa hominid 1 (MH1) from South Africa, named 'Karabo'. The combined fossil remains of this juvenile male is designated as the holotype for Australopithecus sediba.

Discovered in 2008 by Lee R. Berger.

Photo: Brett Eloff, Courtesy Profberger and Wits University
Permission: GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version
Text: Wikipedia




sediba sediba


Australopithecus sediba

Partial cranium, type specimen, MH1, circa 2 000 000 BP - 1 800 000 BP.

Malapa, South Africa

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source and text: Facsimile, Vienna Natural History Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien


lucy's baby

A more detailed page on Australopithecus sediba






Homo naledi

location




Homo naledi

Homo naledi face reconstruction.

Photo: http://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2015/09/10/human-ancestor-species-discovered-south-africa-mckenzie-pkg.cnn/video/playlists/ancient-discoveries/ and http://edition.cnn.com/2015/09/10/africa/homo-naledi-human-relative-species/index.html




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 characterised by body mass and stature similar to small-bodied human populations but a small endocranial volume similar to australopiths. Cranial morphology of Homo 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. Homo 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 hominin yet discovered in Africa.

Homo naledi
Homo naledi

Dinaledi skeletal specimens. The figure includes approximately all of the material incorporated in this diagnosis, including the holotype specimen, paratypes and referred material. These make up 737 partial or complete anatomical elements, many of which consist of several refitted specimens.

Specimens not identified to element, such as non-diagnostic long bone or cranial fragments, and a subset of fragile specimens are not shown here.

The 'skeleton' layout in the center of the photo is a composite of elements that represent multiple individuals. This view is foreshortened; the table upon which the bones are arranged is 120-cm wide for scale.

Source and text: http://elifesciences.org/content/4/e09560
Photo: © Lee Roger Berger research team
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.




Homo naledi Homo naledi



Homo naledi skull.

Photo: © National Geographic
Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/05/homo-naledi-human-evolution-science/#/01_homo_naledi_update.jpg




Homo naledi<A more detailed page on Homo naledi. In 2013, fossil skeletons were found in a chamber of the Rising Star Cave system, about 50 km northwest of Johannesburg. Although archaic features of its skeleton resembled fossil specimens roughly two million years old, in 2017 the fossils were dated close to 250 000 years BP, and thus contemporary with larger brained anatomically modern humans, Neanderthals, and Denisovans.






Homo habilis

location




Homo habilis
Forensic reconstruction of an adult female H. habilis by √Člisabeth Dayn√®s (2010), based on the KNM-ER 1813 cranium.

Homo habilis reconstruction in the Museo de la Evolución Humana, Burgos, sculpture by Elisabeth Daynes (2010) based on the KNM-ER 1813 cranium (Koobi Fora, Kenya, dated 1.9 Ma).

Photo: Own work (photograph); √Č. Dayn√®s (sculpture) - Own work
Permission: CC BY-SA 4.0
Proximal Source: Wikipedia




Homo habilis was a species of the tribe Hominini, during the Gelasian and early Calabrian stages of the Pleistocene period, which lived between roughly 2.1 and 1.5 million years ago. The type specimen is OH 7, discovered in 1960 at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, associated with the Oldowan lithic industry; the fossils were identified as a separate species of Homo with the proposed binomial name of Homo Habilis('handy man') in 1964. In its appearance and morphology, Homo Habilis is the least similar to modern humans of all species in the genus Homo (except the equally controversial Homo rudolfensis ), and its classification as Homo has been the subject of controversial debate since its first proposal in the 1960s.

Text above: Wikipedia

Homo habilis

Homo habilis

Skull, KNM-ER 1813.

Discovered by Kamoya Kimeu at Koobi Fora, Kenya.

Circa 1 900 000 BP.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source and text: Facsimile, Vienna Natural History Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien




Homo habilis

Diorama of Homo habilis at a dead hippo. It is a scientific reconstruction of the find of a specific situation from Lake Turkana in East Africa. The age of the find dates between 1.6 and 2 million years.

Homo habilis was not yet able to catch such a large animal as a hippo, and therefore in the drying environment of Africa, had a mostly herbal diet, supplemented by small animals and the found carcasses of dead animals.

Author diorama: Prof. Jan Jelínek
Artwork: Jan Jelínek ml. and Pavel Sabat
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
Source and text: Anthropos Pavilion/Moravian Museum, Brno, Czech Republic




Homo habilis<A more detailed page on Homo habilis, which was short and had disproportionately long arms compared to modern humans; however, it had a less protruding face than the australopithecines from which it is thought to have descended. H. habilis had a cranial capacity slightly less than half of the size of modern humans. Despite the ape-like morphology of the bodies, Homo habilis remains are often accompanied by primitive stone tools (e.g. Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania and Lake Turkana, Kenya).






Homo erectus - Homo ergaster

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Note that Homo erectus and Homo ergaster are now considered by most researchers to be identical, although some consider ergaster to be the African form, and erectus to be the Asian form of essentially the same species.

Turkana Boy Turkana Boy

The most famous Homo erectus find is the 'Turkana Boy', KNM WT 15000, a young male discovered in Kenya by Kamoya Kimeu in 1984. The original is now kept at the Kenya National Museum.

His reconstructed skeleton - with a narrow pelvis and tall, thin body - is interpreted as showing adaptation to the hot climate and the need to run long distances. In comparison, this new find is from a shorter female with a wider chest - a feature more commonly found now in humans from colder, even Arctic climates. The wide pelvis suggests the birth canal and brain size were co-evolving, as H. erectus adapted to the need to give birth to larger babies above the need to adapt to the pressure of external environmental factors.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014

Source: Display at Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies

Artist responsible for the hyperrealistic reconstruction of Turkana Boy: Elisabeth Daynès




Homo erectus Homo erectus
Homo erectus

Soft tissue reconstruction based on the skull reconstruction by G.J. Sawyer & I. Tattersall. They used the Zhoukoudian skull fragments XII, III, XIV/VI, X/I, X/II, the mandible fragments GI/II and the isolated teeth 2, 6, and 13.

Zhoukoudian, China, circa 780 000 BP - 600 000 BP.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Sculptor: Atelier √Člisabeth Daynès, Paris
Source and text: Facsimile, Vienna Natural History Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien




Homo erectus Homo erectus
Homo erectus

Cranium, SKULL XII.

Circa 780 000 BP - 600 000 BP, Zhoukoudian, China.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source and text: Facsimile, Vienna Natural History Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien




Homo ergaster Homo ergaster

Homo ergaster

Cranium only, no lower jaw, KNM-ER 3733.

Koobi Fora, Kenya. Circa 1 800 000 BP.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source and text: Facsimile, Vienna Natural History Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien




Homo erectus Homo erectus
Homo erectus

Sculpture of the female from Koobi Fora, Kenya, probably KNM-ER 3733.

KNM-ER 3733 is a fossilised hominid cranium of the extinct hominid Homo ergaster, which is interchangeably referred to as Homo erectus. It was discovered in 1975 in Koobi Fora, Kenya, right next to Lake Turkana, by Bernard Ngeneo, a field worker for Richard Leakey. Its geographic location is not to be confused with that of KNM-WT 15000, Turkana Boy, also known as Nariokotome Boy, who was also found near Lake Turkana nine years later in 1984.

KNM-ER 3733 is one of the oldest Homo ergaster skulls in the world. Recent research using magnetostratigraphy has determined the age of KNM-ER 3733 to be circa 1 600 000 BP KNM-ER 3733 is a find of a near-complete cranium. Its brain size is about 850 cm3. KNM-ER 3733 was compared to male fossils KNM-ER 3833 and KNM-WT 15000 (Turkana Boy), who were also found at the Koobi Fora site, and because of this, is said to be female. The features of KNM ER 3733 are less robust compared to the two male crania. It is considered to be an adult because of the extensive wear of its teeth, the fact that its third molars were present before the individual died, and because its cranial sutures were fully fused, which is only possible in adult specimen.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Sculptor: Atelier √Člisabeth Daynès, Paris, for the Neanderthal Museum, 1996.
Source and text: Facsimile, Neanderthal Museum, Mettmann, near D√ľsseldorf, Germany
Additional text: Wikipedia




  Homo Erectus Sites
A more detailed page on Homo erectus (Beijing Man, Peking Man) sites






Homo rudolfensis

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Homo rudolfensis - This early human lived about 2 million years ago, but its place on our family tree is debated.

Age: 2 400 000 BP to 1 800 000 BP.

The key specimen of this species is skull KNM-ER 1470. When it was discovered by Richard Leakey's team in 1972, it was not attributed to a species, only a member of the genus Homo. In 1986, a Russian anthropologist gave the skull the species name Pithecanthropus rudolfensis. The genus name of Pithecanthropus was later dropped and replaced with Homo.

Other cranial remains attributed to this species include the KNM-ER 1802, 1590, 1801 and 3732. Possible limb remains may include KNM-ER 1472 and 1481, but these were not found with skulls so attribution is questionable. The species name rudolfensis comes from the location where the type specimen KNM-ER 1470 was found - Lake Turkana, East Rudolph, Kenya. Fossils have been found in Urhara, Malawi, and Lake Turkana in Kenya.

Text above: http://australianmuseum.net.au/Homo-rudolfensis



rudolfensis rudolfensis
Homo rudolfensis type specimen from Koobi Fora, Kenya.

Skull, KNM-ER 1470.

Circa 2 000 000 BP - 1 900 000 BP.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source and text: Facsimile, Vienna Natural History Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien




rudolfensis
Homo rudolfensis reconstruction

Reconstruction: Wildlife Art
Photo: Daderot
Permission: This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.
Source: Facsimile, Naturhistorisches Museum, Braunschweig, Germany




rudolfensis
Homo rudolfensis

Hominid Corridor Research Project (HCRP): fossil mandible HCRP-UR 501 = Homo rudolfensis, original specimen, 2 400 000 BP, excavated by the German palaeo-anthropologist Friedemann Schrenk in Uraha, Malawi.

This photo was taken in Senckenberg-Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Hands of Elisabeth Vrba. UR 501 is the oldest known fossil of Genus Homo.

Photo: Gerbil
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution Share alike 3.0 Unported license.
Proximal source and text: Wikipedia




rudolfensis
Skull of Homo rudolfensis

Discovered at Koobi Fora, Kenya, by B. Ngeneo, in 1972.

Circa 2 400 000 BP - 1 800 000 BP.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source and text: Facsimile, Neanderthal Museum, Mettmann, near D√ľsseldorf




Homo rudolfensis<
A more detailed page on Homo rudolfensis, whose oldest fossil is dated to 2.4 million years ago, at the very beginning of the Pleistocene.






Homo antecessor

location




Homo antecessor

Homo antecessor

Cranial fragments from Gran dolina, Atapuerca, Spain.

Circa 780 000 BP

Fossils from the Gran Dolina railway cut in northern Spain's Sierra Atapuerca are from a hitherto unknown species of early human, according to the site's excavator Jos√© Berm√ļdez de Castro of the National Museum of Natural Sciences, Madrid, and his colleagues. They named the newly identified species Homo antecessor (from the Latin for pioneer or explorer), and claim that it is directly ancestral to both modern humans and Neandertals. The Gran Dolina fossils--nearly 80 postcranial, cranial, facial, and mandibular bones as well as teeth of at least six individuals--were excavated between 1994 and 1996.


A key specimen is a partial facial skeleton of a juvenile, estimated to be ten to eleven years old, recovered in 1995. The fossils exhibit both seemingly modern features, such as sunken cheekbones with a horizontal rather than vertical ridge where upper teeth attach and a projecting nose and midface, and more primitive ones, including prominent brow ridges and premolars with multiple roots. The level in which the fossils were found, TD6, is dated by a reversal in the earth's magnetic field to more than 780,000 years ago. So far this level has been exposed only in a test pit of six square meters, but the excavators are confident that many more human fossils will be found when the larger excavations reach the level some years in the future.

( The Australian museum at https://australianmuseum.net.au notes that although many experts consider these remains to be part of an early and variable Homo heidelbergensis population, the discoverers believe the fossils are different enough to be given a new species name Homo antecessor - Don )

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
Source: Anthropos Pavilion/Moravian Museum, Brno, Czech Republic
Text: Adapted from https://archive.archaeology.org/online/news/gran.dolina.html




antecessor model skull
Reconstruction of Homo antecessor skull at Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain) Reconstrucci√≥n del cr√°neo de Homo antecessor, Museo de Arqueolog√≠a de Catalu√Īa (Barcelona, Espa√Īa).

Photo: Xvazquez
Source: Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain)
Text: Adapted from https://archive.archaeology.org/online/news/gran.dolina.html
Permission: Public Domain




antecessor model
Homo antecessor reconstruction, Museo de la Evolución Humana (Burgos, Spain).

Reconstruction by √Člisabeth Daynès (2014), based on fragments from Gran Dolina, Atapuerca, Spain (ATD6-15, ATD6-96, ATD6-96), ca. 850 ka.

The reconstruction is that of an adolescent male of circa 10 years (the 'Boy of Gran Dolina').

Photo: √Člisabeth Daynès
Source: Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain)
Text: Adapted from https://archive.archaeology.org/online/news/gran.dolina.html
Permission: GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2








Homo heidelbergensis

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 heidelberg man portrait

Portrait of Homo heidelbergensis.
Artist: Unknown
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
Source: Anthropos Pavilion/Moravian Museum, Brno, Czech Republic




Homo heidelbergensis Homo heidelbergensis



Homo heidelbergensis mandible.

Mauer is the type site of Homo heidelbergensis.

This is Mauer 1, a lower jaw discovered in 1907 in Mauer, near Heidelberg, Germany. This jaw is the 'type specimen' or official representative of this species. It was discovered by workers at a gravel quarry which had previously yielded many fossils of extinct mammals. Lying at a depth of about 24 metres, its age is estimated to be between 400 000 and 600 000 years old.

This species had a strongly built lower jaw for the attachment of strong chewing muscles. As with earlier hominins, the lower jaw did not have a protruding, pointed chin. The teeth were arranged in the jaw so that they formed a parabolic shape (curved at the front then splayed out toward the back) and were smaller than those of earlier species (but larger than those of modern humans).

Text: Adapted from http://australianmuseum.net.au/image/Mauer-Jaw-Homo-heidelbergensis-angled-view/
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Facsimile, Museum of Geology and Palaeontology of the University of Heidelberg




Heidelbergensis reconstruction
Model of the head and shoulders of an adult male Homo heidelbergensis on display in the Hall of Human Origins in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Abigail Tucker, 'A Closer Look at Evolutionary Faces', Smithsonian.com, February 25, 2010 writes:

Appearing 700 000 years ago, Homo heidelbergensis is closely related to our own species. 'It has huge brow ridges,' Gurche notes. 'A lot of people think that‚Äôs kind of a shock absorber for the face, that it dissipates pressure put on teeth at the front of the skull, if you are using your mouth as a clamp to grip implements or a skin.'


The huge brow ridges tempted Gurche to create a scowling expression, and in fact he had reason to believe that this particular individual wasn’t a happy camper: the model skull had nearly a dozen abscessed teeth. But 'I happened to catch him in a good mood,' Gurche says. 'I wanted that positive feeling to be somewhere in the line-up.'

Link: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/A-Closer-Look-at-Evolutionary-Faces.html?c=y&page=5&navigation=next#IMAGES
Photo: Tim Evanson
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.




Homo heidelbergensis Homo heidelbergensis
Homo heidelbergensis

Cast of Arago 21 and Arago, a skull and lower jaw discovered in Arago Caves, Tautavel, France. Excavations since 1964 have revealed a number of human fossils at Arago including this skull and jaw from different individuals. Thousands of stone tools and the bones of many types of animals have also been uncovered at this site. The Arago 21 skull is relatively complete but it was distorted either before or during fossilisation. Its features are typical of this species but its size and robust facial features suggest that it is the skull of a young male. It has been dated as being between 250 000 and 400 000 years old.

Photo and text: Carl Bento © Australian Museum, http://australianmuseum.net.au/image/Arago-Skull-Homo-heidelbergensis-anged-view/




HeidelbergensisA more detailed page on Homo heidelbergensis which is an extinct species of the genus Homo which lived in Africa, Europe and western Asia from at least 600 000 years ago, and may date back 1 300 000 years. It survived until 200 000 to 250 000 years ago. It is probably the ancestor of Homo sapiens in Africa and the Neanderthals in Europe, and perhaps also the Denisovans in Asia.






Homo neanderthalensis

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Chapelleauxsaints
Homo neanderthalensis

A delightful cameo of the old man of La Chapelle-aux-Saints telling stories to a young child, by the master of the genre, √Člisabeth Daynès.

(left) Soft tissue reconstruction based on the skeleton of a Neanderthal male (La Chapelle-aux-Saints 1, France), circa 50 000 BP

(right) Soft tissue reconstruction based on the fossil of a Neanderthal child (Gibraltar 2, Devil's Tower, UK), circa 50 000 BP - 30 000 BP.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Sculptor: Atelier √Člisabeth Daynès, Paris
Source and text: Facsimile, Vienna Natural History Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien




Spy  reconstruction Spy  reconstruction
This Neanderthal man is based on the 40 000 BP remains found at Spy in Belgium, known as Spy2. He is naked to show his physique. However in the cold climate of the last glaciation, Neanderthals would have had to wear animal skins to survive.

Artist: Kennis & Kennis Reconstructions
Catalog: PA E 7787
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
Source and text: Facsimile, display at The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD




La Ferrassie skeleton reconstruction

A recreation of the skeleton as found at Chapelle-aux-Saints.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Facsimile, display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




original neanderthal original neanderthal


Homo neanderthalensis, type specimen, circa 40 000 BP

Kleine Feldhofer Grotte was a karstic limestone cave and a palaeoanthropologic site in the Neandertal Valley in western Germany. In August 1856, the Neanderthal type specimen was unearthed from the cave. Miners uncovered a skull cap and a number of skeletal bones to be labeled Neanderthal. The bones belong to at least three distinct individuals. Johann Carl Fuhlrott, a German schoolteacher, was the closest scientist to the scene in 1856. By the time Fuhlrott saw it, there not much was left but a few limb bones and the top of the skull, but the skullcap alone was enough to tell him that this was a different kind of human - low forehead, prominent brow ridges, and with sturdier bones than normal.

The cave was situated in a limestone gorge with the interior dimensions of 3 m (9.8 ft) in width by 5 m (16 ft) in length by 3 m (9.8 ft) in height, and a 1 m (3.3 ft) opening 20 m (66 ft) above the valley floor in the south wall which was 50 m (160 ft) high. The cave got its name from the nearby large farm of the Feldhof. The cave was completely destroyed during the 19th century as a result of industrial-scale limestone quarrying which widened the gorge. The location of the cave was soon forgotten and by 1900, unknown.

In 1997 a successful search for the site of the cave and its deposits yielded 24 fragments of human bone, one of which, identified as NN 13, fit exactly onto the left lateral femoral condyle of the Neanderthal 1 fossil. The 2000 excavation resulted in the recovery of thousands of artefacts. The mitochondrial DNA of two bone samples were fully sequenced, and completed in 2009.

The new specimens are all smaller and/or more fragmentary than the bones recovered in 1856. This is not surprising, because these specimens were thrown down an approximately 20 metre high rock face and subjected to breakage by subsequent quarrying activity while on the valley floor. Although fragmentary, many pieces of bone have been refitted to form more complete elements.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original bones of the type specimen of Homo neanderthalensis, displayed at LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn.
Text: Vienna Natural History Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien
Additional text: Wikipedia




original neanderthal original neanderthal


The skeleton of the original Neandertal.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
Source: Original bones, apart from the skull, of the type specimen of Homo neanderthalensis, displayed at LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn.




  Mousterian (Neanderthal) SitesA page with a large number of links to the many Neanderthal skeletons and sites which have been found.






Denisovans / Homo sapiens denisova

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The Denisovans or Denisova hominins are an extinct species or subspecies of archaic humans in the genus Homo. Pending its status as either species or subspecies, it currently carries the temporary names Homo sapiens [subspecies] denisova. In March 2010, scientists announced the discovery of a finger bone fragment of a juvenile female who lived about 41 000 years ago, found in the Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains in Siberia, a cave that has also been inhabited by Neanderthals and modern humans. The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of the finger bone showed it to be genetically distinct from Neanderthals and modern humans. The nuclear genome from this specimen suggested that Denisovans shared a common origin with Neanderthals, that they ranged from Siberia to Southeast Asia, and that they lived among and interbred with the ancestors of some modern humans, with about 3% to 5% of the DNA of Melanesians and Aboriginal Australians and around 6% in Papuans deriving from Denisovans.

A 2013 comparison with the genome of another Neanderthal from the Denisova cave revealed local interbreeding with local Neanderthal DNA representing 17% of the Denisovan genome, and evidence of interbreeding with an as yet unidentified ancient human lineage. Analysis of DNA from two teeth found in layers different from the finger bone revealed an unexpected degree of mtDNA divergence among Denisovans. Two teeth belonging to different members of the Denisova cave population have been reported. In November 2015, a tooth fossil containing DNA was reported to have been found and studied.

Denisovans and Neanderthals split from Homo sapiens around 600 000 up to 744 000 years ago and diverged from each other about 200 000 years later

Text above: Wikipedia



Denisova
This Denisovan mandible likely represents the earliest hominin fossil on the Tibetan Plateau, researchers say.

Photo: Jean-Jacques Hublin/AFP/Getty Images
Source and text: Facsimile, https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/may/01/denisovan-jawbone-discovered-in-tibetan-cave




Denisovan

An artist‚Äôs impression of the teenage 'Denny', the ancient mixed heritage Denisovan mystery girl, who lived 90 000 years ago, and who had a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father.

Photo: © John Bavaro/early-man.com
Source and text: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/nov/24/denisovan-neanderthal-hybrid-denny-dna-finder-project




mousterianA more detailed page on the Denisovans. Up to 6% of the genes now found in modern New Guineans and 3-5% of the DNA of aboriginal Australians is made up of Denisovan DNA, scientists have discovered. The gene that allows Tibetan people to survive high altitudes is also believed to have been inherited from them.






Homo floresiensis

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Homo floresiensis
A painting of a male Homo floresiensis.

The story of man is being rewritten. Australian and Indonesian scientists have dug up skeletons of a previously unknown human species - real 'hobbits' that stood only a metre tall - that lived on the Indonesian island of Flores, west of Timor, until relatively recently.

The scientists found the first skeleton in September 2003 in Liang Bua, a large limestone cave on the island. The one-metre-tall female, aged about 30 and dubbed 'Hobbit', lived about 18 000 years ago.

Six similar skeletons were later found, some of whom lived in the cave just 13 000 years ago. The scientists have speculated that the species may have lived on Flores - which they dubbed the "lost world" - until the 16th century.

Artwork: Peter Schouten
Source and text: Stephen Cauchi Science Reporter, http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/10/27/1098667841536.html?oneclick=true


Homo floresiensis
Homo floresiensis skull.

Photo: Reuters
Proximal source and text: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/08/02/2643415.htm


Hobbit skull Hobbit skull


Resin cast of the skull and lower jaw of the 'Hobbit', donated to the UNE library by Professor Peter Brown.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2009
Source: Facsimile, display at University of New England Library




Hobbit skeleton
Female Homo floresiensis

Homo floresiensis had a small brain, but stone tools found near its remains suggest that this species was a capable toolmaker. Standing at just over one metre tall, these people were one of the last human species to exist at the same time as ours.

This skeleton was found at Liang Bua, Flores, Indonesia, possibly 20 000 BP.

Catalog: LB1, PA EM 4377
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
Source and text: Facsimile, display at The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD




  hobbits floresA more detailed page on Homo floresiensis, which was a one metre tall, human-like creature living and using tools in Indonesia just 18 000 years ago and was a distinct species, not just a malformed modern human. The so-called hobbit had wrist bones almost identical to those found in early hominins and modern chimpanzees, and so must have diverged from the human lineage well before modern humans and Neanderthals arose.







References

  1. Haile-Selassie, Y., 2001: Late Miocene hominids from the Middle Awash, Ethiopia, Nature, 412, 178-181.
  2. Saylor, B. et al., 2019: Age and context of mid-Pliocene hominin cranium from Woranso-Mille, Ethiopia, Nature, August 2019, DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1514-7

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