Newsmax: William Harcourt-Smith Weighs in on New Findings on Early Human Ancestors

October 18, 2013 3:14 pm Anthropology Dept, School of Arts and Humanities
Image: Ancient Skulls Suggests One Lineage for Early Human Ancestors

A pre-human skull found in 2005 in the ground at the medieval village Dmanisi, Georgia.

A “time capsule” from 1.8 million years ago, located in Dmanisi, Georgia, shows variations among five human skulls from that period that suggest long-debated distinctions about early human development may be overblown.The differences between the skulls were no more than that seen in modern humans, according to a report today in the journal Science. The findings suggest there may have been only one species of early human in a key period of time when they first began to migrate out of Africa, said David Lordkipanidze, an anthropologist at the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi and the report’s author.

The analysis drew immediate criticism from scientists who said other members of the hominid family — Homo erectus, Homo habilis, and Homo rudolfensis — were identified using more than just their skulls. Lordkipanidze said the Dmanisi artifacts offer the earliest known representation outside of Africa of human development after the migration.