Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Human Ancestors More Primitive That Once Thought

Date:
September 26, 2007
Source:
Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
Analysis of the earliest known hominid fossils outside of Africa has revealed that the first human ancestors to inhabit Eurasia were more primitive than previously thought. The fossils, dated to 1.8 million years old, show some modern aspects of lower limb morphology, such as long legs and an arched foot, but retain some primitive aspects of morphology in the shoulder and foot. The species had a small stature and brain size more similar to earlier species found in Africa.

A team of researchers, including Herman Pontzer, Ph.D., assistant professor of physical anthropology in Arts & Sciences, has determined through analysis of the earliest known hominid fossils outside of Africa, recently discovered in Dmanisi, Georgia, the former Soviet republic, that the first human ancestors to inhabit Eurasia were more primitive than previously thought.

Related Articles


The fossils, dated to 1.8 million years old, show some modern aspects of lower limb morphology, such as long legs and an arched foot, but retain some primitive aspects of morphology in the shoulder and foot. The species had a small stature and brain size more similar to earlier species found in Africa.

"Thus, the earliest known hominins to have lived outside Africa in temperate zones of Eurasia did not yet display the full set of derived skeletal features," the researchers conclude.

The findings, published Sept. 20 in the journal "Nature," are a marked step in learning more about the first human ancestors to migrate from Africa.

The lead author of the paper is David Lordpkipanidze, director of the National Museum of Georgia. Collaborators on the study include Pontzer and researchers from Georgia, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.

The new evidence shows how this species had the anatomical and behavioral capacity to be successful across a range of environments and expand out of Africa, said Pontzer, who studies how the musculoskeletal anatomy of an animal reflect its performance, ecological niche and evolutionary history.

"This research tells us that the limb proportions and behavioral flexibility which allowed this species to expand out of Africa were there at least 1.8 million years ago," Pontzer said.

Dmanisi is the site of a medieval village located about 53 miles southwest of Tbilisi, Georgia on a promontory at the confluence of the Mashavera and Phinezauri rivers. Archaeological exploration of the ruins began in the 1930s, but systematic excavations were not undertaken until the 1980s. Pontzer has been studying the site for more than six years.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Washington University in St. Louis. "Human Ancestors More Primitive That Once Thought." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070920145343.htm>.
Washington University in St. Louis. (2007, September 26). Human Ancestors More Primitive That Once Thought. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070920145343.htm
Washington University in St. Louis. "Human Ancestors More Primitive That Once Thought." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070920145343.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) Stanford University wants to unlock the secrets of the player piano. Researchers are restoring and studying self-playing pianos and the music rolls that recorded major composers performing their own work. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Domestication Might've Been Bad For Horses

Domestication Might've Been Bad For Horses

Newsy (Dec. 16, 2014) A group of scientists looked at the genetics behind the domestication of the horse and showed how human manipulation changed horses' DNA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet Manuscripts to Go on Sale

Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet Manuscripts to Go on Sale

AFP (Dec. 16, 2014) A collection of rare manuscripts by composers Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet are due to go on sale at auction on December 17. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Old Ship Records to Shed Light on Arctic Ice Loss

Old Ship Records to Shed Light on Arctic Ice Loss

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 15, 2014) Researchers are looking to the past to gain a clearer picture of what the future holds for ice in the Arctic. A project to analyse and digitize ship logs dating back to the 1850's aims to lengthen the timeline of recorded ice data. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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