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Earth Science

New Skeleton Finds May Revamp History of Human Evolution 131

Posted by timothy
from the history-is-written-by-the-known-survivors dept.
brindafella links to a series of articles published yesterday in the journal Science "on Australopithecus sediba, explaining that skeletons found in the Malapa cave in the World Heritage listed 'Cradle of Civilisation' push back to 1.97 million years the oldest known tool-using, ape-like pre-humans." As is typical, the full Science articles are paywalled, but the abstracts are interesting. (If you're a university student — or, in some cases, an alumni club member — you may have full journal access and not even realize it.) NPR has a nice article on the find as well.
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New Skeleton Finds May Revamp History of Human Evolution

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  • by BlueCoder (223005) on Friday September 09, 2011 @07:24PM (#37358272)

    Evolution of full of evolutionary useful adaptations reinventing themselves. Doesn't mean it's direct ancestry.

    It has happened before and it will happen again.

  • by MimeticLie (1866406) on Friday September 09, 2011 @08:16PM (#37358672)
    That was what the scientists behind the discovery argued on Science Friday. Even Berger, who found it (and was implied [todayonline.com] to be saying it was a human ancestor) argued that it was more significant in opening up our idea of what morphology defines the genus Homo than in being a possible ancestor.

    The Science Friday [sciencefriday.com] story (audio on the left side of the page) is definitely worth listening to. Quick version: sediba has some features, in the hands and elsewhere, that are associated with the genus Homo and our direct ancestors. But it also has very ape-like qualities that make it less likely to be a direct ancestor. It's also notable in that it was discovered as two very complete skeletons rather than fragments, as many transitional species are.

    Cool story all around.
  • Re:Again? (Score:4, Informative)

    by sunspot42 (455706) on Friday September 09, 2011 @10:43PM (#37359640)

    You're seriously trying to support the assertion "they" do this "every couple of years" because of "Nebraska man"? "Nebraska man" hit the papers in 1922. Once a century != "every couple of years".

    Basic math fail.

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