Fossil May Be Evolution Game Changer
September 9, 2011 by USA Post
Fossil May Be Evolution Game Changer, Two million years ago, the bones belong to a creature with ape and human traits, both the clearest evidence of the first great step in the evolution to modern humans – the results that some call a potential game-changer.
Ananlysis of bones found in South Africa suggests sediba Australopithecus is the most likely candidate to be the ancestor of humans, said lead researcher, Lee R. Berger of the University of Witwtersrand in South Africa.
The fossils, which belong to an adult male and female, show a new combination of features, as if nature were experiencing. Some resemble the pre-human creatures, while others suggest that the genus Homo, which includes modern Homo sapiens.
“It’s as if evolution is caught in a vital moment, a snapshot to stop action of evolution in action,” said Richard Potts, director of Human Origins at the Smithsonian Institution. It was not in the team, led by South African scientists, whose research was published online Thursday in the journal Science.
Scientists have long considered the Australopithecus family, which includes the famous fossil Lucy, a candidate for a primitive human ancestor. The new research establishes a creature that combines features of both groups.
Recently studied the bones were found in 2008 in the region rich in fossils of cave near Malapa Johannesberg. After Berger 9-year-old son, Matthew, found a bone that was determined to belong to the girl. Two weeks later, Berger discovered the fossils of the female.
The magazine published five documents detailing the findings, including separate reports on the feet, hands, pelvis and brain of A. sediba.
Berger said the brain, hands and feet have characteristics of both modern and early pre-humans that show a transition is underway. Represents a model of good faith that could lead to the human genus Homo, Berger said.
Kristian J. Carlson, also at the University of Witwtersrand, said the brain of A. sediba is small, like a chimpanzee, but with a more humane setting, particularly with an expansion behind and above the eyes.
This seems to be evidence that the brain reorganizes itself along more modern lines before it began its expansion into the largest current size, Carlson said in a teleconference.
“It will take a lot of scrutiny of the papers and the fossils of more and more researchers in the coming months and years, but thisanlysis could be ‘game changers in the understanding of human evolution,” said Potts of the Smithsonian .
So does this mean sediba A. was the “missing link”?
Thus, scientists do not like that term, which Berger calls “biologically wrong.”
This is a good candidate to represent the evolution of humans, he said, but the oldest example of Homo is short of 150,000 to 200,000 years younger.
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