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RAW: 1.8 Million Year old Skull Found In Georgia

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Published on Oct 21, 2013

1.8 million year old skull found
1.8 million year old skull found
1.8 million year old skull found

Scientific community is fascinated by Georgia skull discovery that is the most complete sample ever found for early homo population.

Does this skull rewrite the history of mankind? 1.8 million-year-old remains suggest all human ancestors belonged to the SAME species but just looked different.


Skull 5, which comes from an ancient human ancestor found in Dmanisi,Georgia, implies that all Homo species were once one.

It was thought that different characteristics among the Homo fossils showed they were distinct, different species.

Scientists from the Anthropological Institute and Museum in Zurich say Skull 5 suggests a single Homo species could cope with a variety of ecosystems.

The discovery of a complete 1.8 million-years-old skull has rewritten the story of how modern man evolved from our early ancestors in Africa, according to Swiss scientists.

A skull found in Georgia from an ancient human ancestor, known as Skull 5, implies that all Homo species were once one.

Research suggests that the earliest members of the Homo genus, including Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus belonged to the same species and simply looked different to each other, shaking up the classification system for early human ancestors.

It is popularly thought that different characteristics among the Homo fossils showed they were distinct, different species but this research casts this theory into doubt.

Scientists from the Anthropological Institute and Museum in Zurich say Skull 5 indicates that rather than several ecologically specialised Homo species, a single Homo species that was able to cope with a variety of ecosystems, emerged from Africa some two million years ago.

They studied the skull that was unearthed in Dmanisi, Georgia and found that unlike other Homo fossils, Skull 5 combines a small braincase with a long face and large teeth.

It was discovered alongside the remains of four other early human ancestors, a variety of animal fossils and some stone tools, all of which are associated with the same location and time period which makes the find truly unique.

The site, which has only been partially excavated, is providing scientists with the first opportunity to compare and contrast the physical traits of multiple human ancestors that apparently coexisted at the same time in the same geological space.

The differences between these Dmanisi fossils are no more pronounced than those between five modern humans or five chimpanzees, the scientists claimed.
The discovery suggests that early, diverse Homo fossils with their origins in Africa, actually represent variation among members of a single, evolving lineage - most appropriately Homo erectus.

Christoph Zollikofer from the Swiss museum said: 'Had the braincase and the face of Skull 5 been found as separate fossils at different sites in Africa, they might have been attributed to different species.

'That's because Skull 5 unites some key features, like the tiny braincase and large face, which had not been observed together in an early Homo fossil until now.'

Given their diverse physical traits, the fossils associated with Skull 5 at Dmanisi can be compared to various Homo fossils, including those found in Africa, dating back to about 2.4 million years ago, as well as others unearthed in Asia and Europe, which are dated between 1.8 and 1.2 million years ago.

He added: 'The Dmanisi finds look quite different from one another, so it's tempting to publish them as different species.

'Yet we know that these individuals came from the same location and the same geological time, so they could, in principle, represent a single population of a single species.'

The hominid fossils from Dmanisi represent ancient human ancestors from the early Pleistocene epoch, soon after early Homo diverged from Australopithecus and dispersed from Africa, according to the study, published in the journal Science.

The jaw associated with Skull 5 was found five years before the cranium was discovered but when the two pieces were put together, they formed the most complete large skull ever found at the Dmanisi site.
For this reason, the researchers suggest that the individual to whom Skull 5 belonged was male.

The braincase of Skull 5 is only about 33.3 cubic inches or 546 cubic centimetres, however, which suggests that this early Homo had a small brain despite his modern human-like limb proportions and body size.
Professor Zollikofer added said: 'Thanks to the relatively large Dmanisi sample, we see a lot of variation.

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