Convoluted human evolution; language is innate (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 05, 2015, 00:51 (1595 days ago) @ David Turell

An ancient homo jaw bone dated at 2.8 million years ago, probably an early H. habilis, and it is the oldest homo fossil yet found near the vicinity where Lucy was discovered in the Afar valley.

"The scientists dated the fossil by analyzing the layers of volcanic ash above and below it. "When volcanoes erupt, they send out a layer of ash that contains radioactive isotopes, and these isotopes start going through radioactive decay," Villmoare said. "We can use this to figure out how old those layers of ash are." [Gallery: See Images of Our Closest Human Ancestor]

"The fossil was found near the Ethiopian site of Hadar, home to Australopithecus afarensis, the ancient species that included "Lucy" that was long thought to be a potential ancestor of the human family. Moreover, LD 350-1 only dates to about 200,000 years after Lucy, and its primitive sloping chin resembles that of Australopithecus. However, the fossil's teeth and even proportions of its jaw suggest it belonged to the genus Homo rather than Australopithecus.

"'It's a mixture of more primitive traits from Australopithecus with quite a few traits only seen in later Homo," Villmoare said."

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