Family tree branches out

May 20, 2010
Family tree branches out
Reconstruction of Homo gautengensis. Photo: Darren Curnoe

(PhysOrg.com) -- UNSW anthropologist Dr Darren Curnoe has identified another new early human ancestor in South Africa ? the earliest recognised species of Homo.

Our has grown once again with the identification of another new species of early human ancestor, based on fresh analysis of a partial skull found decades ago in South Africa's famous Sterkfontein Caves, near Johannesburg.

Identified and named as Homo gautengensis by Dr Darren Curnoe, of the UNSW School of Biological, Earth Environmental Sciences, the surprise finding is the earliest recognised species of Homo. While earlier fossils belong to the genus Homo, none have yet been classified in any species.

The finding will be reported soon in HOMO - Journal of Comparative Human Biology.

Dr Curnoe says the broader significance of the find, like the recent discovery of another new African hominin species Australopithecus sediba - by a team involving UNSW palaeoanthropologist Dr Andy Herries - lies in what it adds to the surprising number of new human and human-like species announced in recent years and the growing complexity of the human evolutionary story.

Explore further: Scientists conclude sun-powered boat trip to find Europe's oldest village

More information: Read the full story in the latest issue of UNSW’s magazine Uniken (p6-8).

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New species of early hominid found

Apr 06, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A previously unknown species of hominid that lived in what is now South Africa around two million years ago has been found in the form of a fossilized skeleton of a child and several bones ...

New hominid shares traits with Homo species

Apr 08, 2010

Two partial skeletons unearthed from a cave in South Africa belong to a previously unclassified species of hominid that is now shedding new light on the evolution of our own species, Homo sapiens, researchers say. T ...

'Little foot' skeleton is dated

Dec 14, 2006

British scientists have dated an ape-man skeleton at 2.2 million years old, suggesting it might not be part of the ancestral tree leading to Homo sapiens.

'Hobbit' fossils a new species, anthropologist says

Jan 08, 2009

An analysis of an 18,000-year-old fossil, described as the remains of a diminutive humanlike creature, proves that genuine cave-dwelling "hobbits" once flourished in Southeast Asia, according to a Long Island anthropologist ...

Recommended for you

Oldest representative of a weird arthropod group

Aug 28, 2014

Biologists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have assigned a number of 435-million-year-old fossils to a new genus of predatory arthropods. These animals lived in shallow marine habitats ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

gunslingor1
not rated yet May 20, 2010
I would like to see an application that shows a family tree showing WHAT WE KNOW from WHAT WE've FOUND SO FAR. The user could see the relationships between everything we've found and perhaps click on one specifies for detailed information.

EVOLUTION IS FALSE BECAUSE WE HAVEN'T FOUND "THE MISSING LINK". lol, just kinding and mocking.