The existence of a flat-faced representative of the genus Homo
Secrets of the past: Scientists decades trying to understand the related relationship the nearest human ancestors. It was recently revealed another secret of old, the researchers found that shortly before the emergence of Homo sapiens on the planet simultaneously coexisted at least three representatives of the genus Homo.
It is known that in the Pleistocene era, about 1.8 million years ago on Earth there were two species of Homo, regarded as ancestor of modern man: Homo habilis (Homo habilis) and Homo erectus (Homo erectus).
In 1972 in Ethiopia found an unusual skull, which coincided with the time of the above habitat types. The size of the skull also indicated that its owner could be attributed to the genus Homo. However, he differed from other similar finds flat shape of the front part.
Dubbed rudolfskai man (Homo rudolfensis), still the name of the nearest lake Rudolf (now lake Turkana), the species has been the subject of many discussions and disputes.
The lack of teeth and the lower jaw complicates the identification. In addition, because it was the only such discovery, many experts have explained the peculiarities of its morphology, individual development of particular individuals.
Recent discoveries have changed the situation. A team of anthropologists from Britain, Germany, Kenya and the United States not only found out that H. rudolfensis is a separate species, but were able to study it in more detail.
Scientists have discovered 10 kilometers from Nakhodka 1972 another facial bone, the mandible and a fragment of another mandible, with well-preserved molars.
«For the past 40 years, we examine sediments around lake Turkana, trying to find a new, more complete evidence of the existence of H. rudolfensis, says paleoanthropologist Meave Leakey of the Turkana basin Institute (Turkana Basin Institute). And now we have succeeded».
In an article published in the journal Nature, experts explain that the fossils of ancient man have an age of 1.78-1.95 million years.
Held 3D-reconstruction of the bones allowed to recreate the appearance of H. rudolfensis and finally confirm that he is a separate species that existed in the same era that H. habilis and H. erectus.
(The reconstructed three-dimensional model of the skull of H. rudolfensis can be seen in this list of YouTube videos.)
«Together, these fossils give us a better idea of how it looked H. rudolfensis, says Professor Fred Spoor (Spoor Fred) from University College London (University College London). – Now we know that another species of Homo lived on the planet during the time of H. erectus and H. habilis».
Talking about his work, the specialists underline that the discovery will help to understand how the evolution of the genus Homo two million years ago and clearer systematisation of the ancestors of H. sapiens.
Interestingly, in the basin of lake Turkana recently discovered remains of the largest prehistoric crocodile that lived on Earth 2.4 million years ago, according to the materials .