Minggu, 30 Maret 2008

Oldest Pre-Human Ancestors in Europe

According to the cover story in Nature this week, a jawbone discovered in a cave in Spain pushes back the date of arrival of pre-human hominids in Western Europe to 1.1 million years. The jawbone belonged to a pre-human ancestor called Homo antecessor who lived approximately 300,000 years before the previous earliest-known pre-human in Western Europe. Artifacts at the site indicate that Homo antecessor fashioned crude tools and used them to butcher small animals.

We don’t mention Homo antecessor in Human Biology, 5th ed. so that the beginning student is not baffled by the number of pre-human hominid names that have cropped up in recent years. Until more fossils are discovered, it might be best to lump Homo antecessor with other better-known European archaic humans such as Homo heidelbergensis.

Reference: “The First Hominin of Europe”. Nature 452: 465-469, March 27, 2008.

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