Family tree branches out

May 20th, 2010 in Other Sciences / Archaeology & Fossils
Family tree branches out
Reconstruction of Homo gautengensis. Photo: Darren Curnoe


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.

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

Provided by University of New South Wales

"Family tree branches out." May 20th, 2010. http://phys.org/news193578492.html