Tuesday, 22 October 2013

A Complete Skull from Dmanisi, Georgia, and the Evolutionary Biology of Early Homo

(c) AnemoneProjectors
 The authors of the article are David Lordkipanidze, Marcia S. Ponce de León, Ann Margvelashvili, Yoel Rak, G. Philip Rightmire, Abesalom Vekua, Christoph P. E. Zollikofer.

The site of Dmanisi, Georgia, has yielded an impressive sample of hominid cranial and postcranial remains, documenting the presence of Homo outside Africa around 1.8 million years ago. Here we report on a new cranium from Dmanisi (D4500) that, together with its mandible (D2600), represents the world's first completely preserved adult hominid skull from the early Pleistocene. D4500/D2600 combines a small braincase (546 cubic centimeters) with a large prognathic face and exhibits close morphological affinities with the earliest known Homo fossils from Africa. The Dmanisi sample, which now comprises five crania, provides direct evidence for wide morphological variation within and among early Homo paleodemes. This implies the existence of a single evolving lineage of early Homo, with phylogeographic continuity across continents.

Georgian National Museum, 3 Purtseladze Street, 0105 Tbilisi, Georgia. 
David Lordkipanidze, Ann Margvelashvili, Abesalom Vekua
Anthropological Institute and Museum, Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland.
Marcia S. Ponce de León, Ann Margvelashvili, Christoph P. E. Zollikofer
Department of Anatomy and Anthropology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, 69978, Israel.
Yoel Rak,
Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.
G. Philip Rightmire