Pair of ancient skeletons representing the same species of human ancestor, scientists confirm



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Pair of ancient skeletons thought to be representative of two different human beings who are from the same species, scientists confirm

  • Ancient bones of juvenile male and female adults were found at Malapa in 2008
  • First thought to be the same species but later suggested that they were not
  • New research on 135 fossils has now confirmed they're from the same species
  • Researchers say they represent different growth stages in species A. sediba

New research on a pair of two million year old concepts is to solidify the timeline of human evolution.

After two partial skeletons were found at the South African site known as the Cradle of Humankind a decade ago, debating as to whether they were from the same species, or represented by distinctive human ancestors.

Now, a series of studies meticulously analyzing the remains has finally put the issue to rest.

In certain cases, in fact, from the same species – they appear to represent two different stages of growth.

According to the researchers, the discrepancies noted in the lumbar vertebrae occur because one individual and the other were a fully grown adult

A reconstruction of A. sediba is shown above

New research on a pair of two million-year-old schemes is helping to piece together the timeline of human evolution. An analysis of 135 ancestors of individuals of the same species of human ancestors. A reconstruction of A. sediba is shown

A total of nine papers in a special issue of the journal Paleo Anthropology this month investigates the two ancient skeletons.

The bones of the juvenile male (MH1) and adult female (MH2) were found at the fossil site of Malapa back in 2008.

At the time, discoverer Lee Berger and colleagues named a new hominin species based on the find: Australopithecus sediba.

Several years later, however, a research group suggested the two individuals not from the same species, due to their lumbar vertebrae.

An exhaustive analysis of fossil bodies and walking mechanics of the two long-deceased human ancestors, along with their skulls, vertebral column, and other parts.

After two partial skeletons were found at a South African site known as the Cradle of Humankind a decade ago, debated as to whether they were from the same species, or represented distinctive human ancestors

After two partial skeletons were found at a South African site known as the Cradle of Humankind a decade ago, debated as to whether they were from the same species, or represented distinctive human ancestors

And, they are both individuals who are both of the species A. sediba.

But we also have significant time climbing in trees, foraging and protection from predators, 'says NYU anthropologist Scott Williams, who is focused on the axial skeleton or, the vertebrae, ribs, and sternum.

‘This larger picture sheds light and is a major transition in hominin evolution, that of the large ape-like species included broadly in the genus Australopithecus to the earliest members of our own genus, Homo. '

The bones of the juvenile male (MH1) and adult female (MH2) were found at the fossil site of Malapa back in 2008. At the time, discoverer Lee Berger and colleagues named a new hominin species based on the find: Australopithecus sediba.

An exhaustive analysis of fossil behavior and walking mechanics of the two long-deceased human ancestors, along with their skulls, vertebral column, and other parts.

The bones of the juvenile male (MH1) and adult female (MH2) were found at the fossil site of Malapa back in 2008. At the time, discoverer Lee Berger and colleagues named a new hominin species based on the find: Australopithecus sediba

The bones of the juvenile male (MH1) and adult female (MH2) were found at the fossil site of Malapa back in 2008. The South African is known as the Cradle of Humankind

The bones of the juvenile male (MH1) and adult female (MH2) were found at the fossil site of Malapa back in 2008. The South African is known as the Cradle of Humankind

WHEN DID HUMAN ANCESTORS FIRST EMERGE?

The timeline of human evolution can be traced back millions of years. Experts estimate that the family tree goes as such:

55 million years ago – First primitive evolve primates

15 million years ago – Hominidae (great apes) evolve from the ancestors of the gibbon

7 million years ago – First gorillas evolve. Later, chimp and human lineages diverge

A recreation of a Neanderthal man is pictured

A recreation of a Neanderthal man is pictured

5.5 million years ago – Ardipithecus, early 'proto-human' shares traits with chimps and gorillas

4 million years ago – Ape like early humans, the Australopithecines appeared. They have no larger than a chimpanzee's brains but other more human like features

3.9-2.9 million years ago – Australoipithecus afarensis lived in Africa.

2.7 million years ago – Paranthropus, lived in woods and had massive jaws for chewing

2.6 million years ago – Hand axes become the first major technological innovation

2.3 million years ago – Homo habilis first thought to have appeared in Africa

1.85 million years ago – First 'modern' hand emerges

1.8 million years ago – Homo ergaster begins to appear in fossil record

800,000 years ago – Early humans control fire and create hearths. Brain size increases rapidly

400,000 years ago – First Neanderthals begin to appear and spread across Europe and Asia

300,000 to 200,000 years ago – Homo sapiens – modern humans – appear in Africa

50,000 to 40,000 years ago – Modern humans reach Europe

According to the researchers, the discrepancies of noted lumbar vertebrae occur because one individual and the other were fully grown adult.

"The juvenile individual's vertebrae have not yet completed growth, whereas the adult's vertebral growth is complete," Williams said.

‘As it happens, the two Homo erectus skeletons we have are juveniles, so MH1 looks more like them because it's too is a juvenile. '

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