Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rutgers' Tanzanian Fossil Reshuffles The Deck On Early Human Ancestry

Date:
February 24, 2003
Source:
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey
Summary:
The fossilized jaw of a 1.8 million-year-old human ancestor (hominid) from Tanzania may just be one of the five best specimens out of about 50 known to represent the earliest members of the genus Homo (H) – the genus to which the human species belongs.

NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The fossilized jaw of a 1.8 million-year-old human ancestor (hominid) from Tanzania may just be one of the five best specimens out of about 50 known to represent the earliest members of the genus Homo (H) – the genus to which the human species belongs.

In the Feb. 21 issue of the journal Science, Rutgers anthropology Professor Robert Blumenschine and his colleagues describe and discuss the specimen they found at Olduvai Gorge in 1995, a fossil-rich locale that gained prominence through the discoveries of Louis and Mary Leakey in the early 1960s.

"This is an important ancestor that comes from a crucial time range in prehistory – a time when we first began to see stone tools, when hominids had just begun to exploit larger animals as a food source, and when brain size was just beginning to expand significantly," said Blumenschine.

The newly described fossil, designated OH 65, consists of a maxilla (upper jaw) complete with all its teeth and the lower face. "Any time you make a find like this, complete enough to show so many important diagnostic features, we get very excited," he said.

The Science article reports that the fossil provides a key anatomical link between two other known specimens, H. rudolfensis - a cranium with most of its face (but no teeth) from northern Kenya - and the original H. habilis type specimen - a mandible (lower jaw) found previously at Olduvai. "OH 65 allows us to reshuffle the specimens that belong in the ancestral genus and tie together rudolfensis and habilis," said Blumenschine. "It shows that all three specimens are likely to be members of the same species - Homo habilis."

OH 65 was found with stone tools and with bones from larger animals that clearly show cut marks made by stone knives and hammer-stone impact marks. Blumenschine said that this associated evidence further corroborates the work of other scientists in demonstrating the capacity both to make tools and to use them in butchering meat for food, even at this early time horizon. Geological evidence in combination with the animal remains offered the investigators an opportunity to develop additional information about early man's land use and his relationship with his environment.

"As we learn more about the paleoecology, we may begin to understand what environmental conditions were selecting for adaptive traits in early Homo, traits like an increasingly large brain, that eventually gave rise to what we are today," said Blumenschine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. "Rutgers' Tanzanian Fossil Reshuffles The Deck On Early Human Ancestry." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 February 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/02/030224082258.htm>.
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. (2003, February 24). Rutgers' Tanzanian Fossil Reshuffles The Deck On Early Human Ancestry. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/02/030224082258.htm
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. "Rutgers' Tanzanian Fossil Reshuffles The Deck On Early Human Ancestry." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/02/030224082258.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Did Neanderthals Play Tic-Tac-Toe?

Did Neanderthals Play Tic-Tac-Toe?

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — Artwork found in a Gibraltar cave that was possibly done by Neanderthals suggests they may have been smarter than we all thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Millions Of Historical Public Domain Photos Added To Flickr

Millions Of Historical Public Domain Photos Added To Flickr

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — Historian Kalev Leetaru uploaded a large collection of historical photos, images that were previously difficult to collect. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — An international team uncovered a large ancient wine celler that likely belonged to a Cannonite ruler. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins