What is it about?

Among the 23 studied specimens and potentially representing early Homo from southern Africa between 2.5 and 1.4 million years, a maximum of seven of them actually represent Homo, while the others more likely belong to Australopithecus or Paranthropus. These results have direct implications regarding our interpretations of hominin diversity, paleobiology and ultimately on our understanding of human evolution

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Why is it important?

These results highlight the importance of correctly identifying taxonomy and discriminating Homo from the other hominins. Otherwise, any misattributions could completely bias interpretations on paleobiological aspects, like for example dietary behavior, ecological interactions, hominin paleodiversity, adaptations and evolutionary relationships.

Perspectives

A larger revision of the African fossil record with similar quantitative approches would enable better understanding the diversity and evolution of hominins.

Clément Zanolli
Universite de Bordeaux

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This page is a summary of: Dental data challenge the ubiquitous presence of Homo in the Cradle of Humankind, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, July 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2111212119.
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