A complete skull from Dmanisi, Georgia, and the evolutionary biology of early Homo.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Lordkipanidze, David; Ponce de León, Marcia S; Margvelashvili, Ann; Rak, Yoel; Rightmire, G Philip; Vekua, Abesalom; Zollikofer, Christoph P E
Year of Publication: 2013
Journal: Science
Volume: 342
Issue: 6156
Pagination: 326-31
Date Published: 2013 Oct 18
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1095-9203
Keywords: Animals, Biological Evolution, Brain, Dentition, Face, Fossils, Georgia (Republic), Hominidae, Humans, Organ Size, Phylogeography, Skull, Skull Base, Temporal Bone

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.

DOI: 10.1126/science.1238484
Alternate Journal: Science