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Nature. 2015 May 28;521(7553):483-8. doi: 10.1038/nature14448.

New species from Ethiopia further expands Middle Pliocene hominin diversity.

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1] Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA [2] Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.
University of Barcelona, Martí Franquès s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.
Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany.
Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA.
Addis Ababa University, PO Box 1176 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Berkeley Geochronology Center, 2455 Ridge Road, Berkeley, California 94709, USA.
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, USA.
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.


Middle Pliocene hominin species diversity has been a subject of debate over the past two decades, particularly after the naming of Australopithecus bahrelghazali and Kenyanthropus platyops in addition to the well-known species Australopithecus afarensis. Further analyses continue to support the proposal that several hominin species co-existed during this time period. Here we recognize a new hominin species (Australopithecus deyiremeda sp. nov.) from 3.3-3.5-million-year-old deposits in the Woranso-Mille study area, central Afar, Ethiopia. The new species from Woranso-Mille shows that there were at least two contemporaneous hominin species living in the Afar region of Ethiopia between 3.3 and 3.5 million years ago, and further confirms early hominin taxonomic diversity in eastern Africa during the Middle Pliocene epoch. The morphology of Au. deyiremeda also reinforces concerns related to dentognathic (that is, jaws and teeth) homoplasy in Plio-Pleistocene hominins, and shows that some dentognathic features traditionally associated with Paranthropus and Homo appeared in the fossil record earlier than previously thought.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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