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Nature. 2002 Mar 21;416(6878):317-20.

Remains of Homo erectus from Bouri, Middle Awash, Ethiopia.

Author information

  • 1Rift Valley Research Service, P.O. Box 5717, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Abstract

The genesis, evolution and fate of Homo erectus have been explored palaeontologically since the taxon's recognition in the late nineteenth century. Current debate is focused on whether early representatives from Kenya and Georgia should be classified as a separate ancestral species ('H. ergaster'), and whether H. erectus was an exclusively Asian species lineage that went extinct. Lack of resolution of these issues has obscured the place of H. erectus in human evolution. A hominid calvaria and postcranial remains recently recovered from the Dakanihylo Member of the Bouri Formation, Middle Awash, Ethiopia, bear directly on these issues. These approximately 1.0-million-year (Myr)-old Pleistocene sediments contain abundant early Acheulean stone tools and a diverse vertebrate fauna that indicates a predominantly savannah environment. Here we report that the 'Daka' calvaria's metric and morphological attributes centre it firmly within H. erectus. Daka's resemblance to Asian counterparts indicates that the early African and Eurasian fossil hominids represent demes of a widespread palaeospecies. Daka's anatomical intermediacy between earlier and later African fossils provides evidence of evolutionary change. Its temporal and geographic position indicates that African H. erectus was the ancestor of Homo sapiens.

PMID:
11907576
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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