August 10th, 2007

Fossils Could Force Rethink of Human Evolution

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Fossils Could Force Rethink of Human Evolution

By Ker Than, LiveScience Staff Writer

Long before humans and Neanderthals lived side by side in Europe, two other species of early humans were coexisting in Africa, a controversial new study claims.

Ian Tattersall, a paleoanthropologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, said the new fossils support existing evidence that more than one species of Homo, the genus to which our species belong, inhabited Africa about 1.5 million years ago.

H. habilis is the earliest known member of the genus Homo. And H. erectus was the first human ancestor to resemble modern humans. Due to the many overlaps in their anatomy, it was previously thought that H. erectus was descended from H. habilis. While that might still be the case, the new findings open the possibility that the H. habilis and H. erectus once shared a common ancestor from whom they split.

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