Thursday, April 08, 2010

More on the Hominid Discovery

The Telegraph has a larger, more in-depth article on the discovery in South Africa of the early Homo remains. Richard Gray writes:
Experts who have seen the skeleton say it shares characteristics with Homo habilis, whose emergence 2.5 million years ago is seen as a key stage in the evolution of our species.

The new discovery could help to rewrite the history of human evolution by filling in crucial gaps in the scientific knowledge.

Most fossilised hominid remains are little more than scattered fragments of bone, so the discovery of an almost-complete skeleton will allow scientists to answer key questions about what our early ancestors looked like and when they began walking upright on two legs.
This discovery was hinted at months ago but no details had been forthcoming. One of the problems that continually plagues palaeoanthropology research is sections for which the fossil record is not as good as we would like it. There are a number of Homo habilis fossils that show a clear evolution of Homo but only a few instances in which it appears as though there is a clear transition between australopithecines and Homo habilis. This may change that.

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