Thursday, April 08, 2010

CNN Story on Australopithecus sediba

CNN has a story on the new hominid, complete with picture, which is now tentatively being called Australopithecus sediba. It is truly remarkable, with obvious characteristics of early Homo and yet what appear to be some nifty-looking anterior pillars. Here is the image that appears on the CNN site. Until we get a full description, what this find appears to represent is a very primitive Homo with some australopithecine facial characteristics and some Homo facial characteristics along with a slightly expanded cranium. This pattern is later seen in specimens like KNM ER-1470, Richard Leakey's famous find in 1972.

Here's the problem. As I mentioned in the first post about this find, if you are familiar with the facial skeleton of the gracile australopithecines, you can see those characteristics in this specimen. If you are familiar with the facial skeletons of the specimens attributed to Homo habilis, you can see some of those characteristics as well. The fact that this specimen has both is a big deal. That Anika Smith can dismiss it out of hand strongly suggests that she doesn't have the background to understand what she is looking at.

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