Scientists are now rethinking the lines of human evolution thanks to the discovery of an (almost) intact 1.8 million-year old skull in Dmanisi, Georgia, which has led them to believe that there were far less “homo” species than currently believed. In fact, remnants of four other hominids found at the same site as the relic now known as “Skull 5” show “as many variations as those used by scientists to distinguish entirely different human ancestors such as homo ergaster, homo rudolfensis, and homo habilias, but instead may actually be part of a single early type of homo species that eventually evolved into us, according to paleontologist Christopher Zollikofer.
“Since we see a similar pattern and range of variation in the fossil records found in Africa, it is sensible to assume that there was only one single homo species that ended up spreading north through Europe and Asia,” he stated.
“This is the most complete early homo skull every found anywhere in the world, and the 5th example of a homid (bipedal primate that walked upright,” exclaimed study author David Lordkipanidze, a researcher at the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi, who went on to describe it has having a long face, large teeth, and surprisingly small braincase of only 546 cubic centimeters. He also stated that the individuals found at Dmanisi had longs, but short arms. They also used stone tools to butcher animals.
Still, not everyone is convinced that it is time to prune the human evolutionary tree, including paleoanthropologist Lee Berger of Johannesburg, S. Africa’s University of Witwatersang, who discovered Australopithicus Sediba (possible human ancestor who is said to have lived about 2 million years ago in South Africa). And while Lordkipanidze claims there are similarities between Skull 5 and homo erectus skulls found on the Island of Java in Indonesia that “may provide evidence that there was a “genetic continuity across large geographic distances,” Berger has criticized him for not comparing the Dmanisi remains to A.Sediba or more recent finds in East Africa.