Thursday 2 January 2014

Fascinating human evolution discoveries of 2013

From Scientific American.  A few excerpts.
  • Analysis of the shape of the braincase of seven-million-year-old Sahelanthropus tchadensis from Chad supports the claim that it is the oldest human ancestor on record.
  • The femur of Orrorin tugenensis, a putative human ancestor that lived six million years ago in Kenya, has a shape that is intermediate between that of fossil apes and early members of the human lineage—a finding that confirms previous claims thatthe creature walked upright.
  • Tiny, rarely preserved middle-ear bones from two of our ancient relatives that lived millions of years ago exhibit modern features, which may indicate an early shift in hearing ability.
  • The latest round of studies of Australopithecus sediba, a nearly two-million-year-old relative of ours from South Africa, reveals a previously unknown form of upright walking and decidedly humanlike jaws and teeth. But is it the ancestor of our genus, Homo? Not so fast.
Not really related: American political parties and evolution/creation, a takedown.

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