Navigation Links
Human fossil discovery -- evidence of new Homo species
Date:4/9/2010

Two partial skeletons have been discovered in the cave deposits in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site near Johannesburg, in the Republic of South Africa by members of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

The human fossils, close to 2 million years old, have been classified as a new species: Australopithecus sediba. Australopithecus means "southern ape" and Sediba, taken from the local South African language seSotho means "natural spring, fountain or wellspring".

The findings represent some of the most significant scientific discoveries of recent years and were published today in the scientific journal Science.

Dr Robyn Pickering of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne who was one a team of international and Australian scientists to accurately date the sediments surrounding the fossils says, "We are now able to fill in the gap of what happened 2 million years ago in the beginnings of our species."

"It has never been clear where our own genus Homo came from this new discovery, Australopithecus sediba could answer these questions," she says.

Researchers say this species appears to be a transitional form, maybe the best yet found, between early australopithecines and early members of the genus Homo, thereby replacing other candidates such as Homo habilis (the tool making 'handy' man from east Africa) as the distant ancestor of Homo sapien.

The Sediba fossils are exceptionally well preserved, and therefore provide a unique insight in the period when the earliest members of our genus evolved.

Sediments from surrounding and supporting the fossils were analysed by several research teams.

Using a state-of-the-art uranium lead dating technique, conducted independently and in parallel by Dr Pickering at the University of Melbourne and her former PhD supervisor Professor Jan Kramers from the University of Bern in Switzerland, they produced an identical age result confirming the sediment was close to 2 million years old.

"Together with palaeomagnetic dating of the sediments more closely surrounding the fossils by Andy Herries of UNSW and our team of colleagues led by Professor Paul Dirks from the University of Townsville, we were collectively able to provide an age of 1.95-1.78 million years for the fossils," Dr Pickering says.

"This is the first time, in relation to these renowned caves in South Africa, that we have been able to achieve such high-quality age control."

"Knowing how old these early human (hominin) fossils are, is critical to our knowledge of where this newly found species fits into our family tree," she says.

Associate Professor Jon Woodhead, who heads the Isotope Geosciences laboratory in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne, noted "This is a highly significant find and I congratulate Robyn and her colleagues on their discovery."

"Only very recently have we been able to develop the technologies required to allow precise dating of cave sediments such as those found in intimate association with these new fossils."

"This really is the beginning of a 'new era' as such methods have much to contribute to studies of global climate change, biodiversity and, in this case, human evolution."

"The University of Melbourne is a world leader in this area and we are proud to have been able to contribute to this important discovery."


'/>"/>

Contact: Rebecca Scott
rebeccas@unimelb.edu.au
61-383-440-181
University of Melbourne
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Scientists uncover new species of human ancestor
2. Pitt-led international study identifies human enzyme that breaks down potentially toxic nanomaterials, opens door to novel drug delivery
3. Pitt-led study identifies human enzyme that breaks down potentially toxic nanomaterials
4. Out of this world: New study investigates infection of human cells in space
5. 2010 Human Frontier Science Program awards announced
6. U Alberta find could shield humans from influenza virus
7. Alzheimers rat created for human research
8. Chemical cocktail affects humans and the environment
9. Understanding Climates Influence on Human Evolution -- March 31 public event
10. GENETICS 2010: Model Organisms to Human Biology Meeting
11. Caltech-led team provides proof in humans of RNA interference using targeted nanoparticles
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/24/2017)... -- Janice Kephart , former 9/11 Commission ... LLP (IdSP) , today issues the following statement: ... 6, 2017 Executive Order: Protecting the Nation ... instilled with greater confidence, enabling the reactivation of ... are suspended by until at least July 2017). ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... , April 18, 2017  Socionext Inc., a global expert in ... media edge server, the M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec ... provided by Tera Probe, Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming ... NAB show at the Las Vegas Convention ... Click ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... April 13, 2017 UBM,s Advanced Design and ... will feature emerging and evolving technology through its 3D ... will run alongside the expo portion of the event ... and demonstrations focused on trending topics within 3D printing ... and manufacturing event will take place June 13-15, 2017 at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... granted orphan drug designation to SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 (Signal Transducer and Activator ... osteosarcoma. SBT-100 is able to cross the cell membrane and bind intracellular STAT3 ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , ... October 10, 2017 ... ... cancer-focused pharmaceutical company advancing targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today confirmed licensing ... HPLN (Hybrid Polymerized Liposomal Nanoparticle), a technology developed in collaboration with Children’s ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... Dr. Bob Harman, founder ... local San Diego Rotary Club. The event entitled “Stem Cells and ... had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined by two human doctors: ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , Oct. 10, 2017 SomaGenics announced the ... NIH to develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), expected to be ... small RNAs (including microRNAs) from single cells using NGS ... the need to accelerate development of approaches to analyze ... "New techniques for measuring levels of mRNAs ...
Breaking Biology Technology: