Navigation Links
Hofmeyr skull supports the 'Out of Africa' theory

Reliably dated fossils are critical to understanding the course of human evolution. A human skull discovered over fifty years ago near the town of Hofmeyr, in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, is one such fossil. A study by an international team of scientists led by Frederick Grine of the Departments of Anthropology and Anatomical Sciences at Stony Brook University in New York published today in Science magazine has dated the skull to 36,000 years ago. This skull provides critical corroboration of genetic evidence indicating that modern humans originated in sub-Saharan Africa and migrated about this time to colonize the Old World. (Science January 12, 2007)

"The Hofmeyr skull gives us the first insights into the morphology of such a sub-Saharan African population, which means the most recent common ancestor of all of us - wherever we come from," said Grine.

Although the skull was found over half a century ago, its significance became apparent only recently. A new approach to dating developed by Grine team member Richard Bailey and his colleagues at Oxford University allowed them to determined its age at just over 36,000 years ago by measuring the amount of radiation that had been absorbed by sand grains that filled the inside of the skullâ?super>TMs braincase. At this age, the skull fills a significant void in the human fossil record of sub-Saharan Africa from the period between about 70,000 and 15,000 years ago. During this critical period, the archaeological tradition known as the Later Stone Age, with its sophisticated stone and bone tools and artwork appears in sub-Saharan Africa, and anatomically modern people appear for the first time in Europe and western Asia with the equally complex Upper Paleolithic archeological tradition.

In order to establish the affinities of the Hofmeyr fossil, team member Katerina Harvati of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, used 3-dimensional measu rements of the skull known to differentiate recent human populations according to their geographic distributions and genetic relationships. She compared the Hofmeyr skull with contemporaneous Upper Paleolithic skulls from Europe and with the skulls of living humans from Eurasia and sub-Saharan Africa, including the Khoe-San (Bushmen). Because the Khoe-San are represented in the recent archeological record of South Africa, they were expected to have close resemblances to the South African fossil. Instead, the Hofmeyr skull is quite distinct from recent sub-Saharan Africans, including the Khoe-San, and has a very close affinity with the European Upper Paleolithic specimens.

The field of paleoanthropology is known for its hotly contested debates, and one that has raged for years concerns the evolutionary origin of modern people. A number of genetic studies (especially those on the mitochondrial DNA) of living people indicate that modern humans evolved in sub-Saharan Africa and then left between 65,000 and 25,000 years ago to colonize the Old World. However, other genetic studies (generally on nuclear DNA) argue against this African origin and exodus model. Instead, they suggest that archaic non-African groups, such as the Neandertals, made significant contributions to the genomes of modern humans in Eurasia. Until now, the lack of human fossils of appropriate antiquity from sub-Saharan Africa has meant that these competing genetic models of human evolution could not be tested by paleontological evidence.

The skull from Hofmeyr has changed that. The surprising similarity between a fossil skull from the southernmost tip of Africa and similarly ancient skulls from Europe is in agreement with the genetics-based "Out of Africa" theory, which predicts that humans like those that inhabited Eurasia in the Upper Paleolithic should be found in sub-Saharan Africa around 36,000 years ago. The skull from South Africa provides the first fossil evidence in support o f this prediction.


'"/>

Source:Max-Planck-Gesellschaft


Related biology news :

1. Relationship of brain and skull more than just packaging
2. 40,000-year-old skull shows both modern human and Neandertal traits
3. New evidence supports century-old theory of cancer spread
4. Slow-frozen people? Latest research supports possibility of cyropreservation
5. Study supports urgent need for worldwide ban on lead-based paint
6. Wild vs. lab rodent comparison supports hygiene hypothesis
7. UWM brain research supports drug development from jellyfish protein
8. Elephants, large mammals recover from poaching in Africas oldest national park
9. Africas first large-scale HIV vaccine study launches
10. Study casts doubt on Snowball Earth theory
11. Mayo Clinic researchers challenge sepsis theory
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/30/2017)... The research team of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) ... ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and matching technology, pushing contactless ... use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, security of access and ... ... A research team led by Dr Ajay Kumar ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... -- higi, the health IT company that operates the largest ... , today announced a Series B investment from BlueCross ... new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to create ... health activities through the collection and workflow integration of ... and secures data today on behalf of over 36 ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... CENTRE, N.Y. , March 27, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics ... Outpatient EMR Adoption Model sm . In addition, ... 12% of U.S. hospitals using an electronic medical ... CHS for its high level of EMR usage ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... April 20, 2017 , ... USDM Life Sciences , the leading ... healthcare industries, is pleased to announce Holger Braemer as Vice President of ... GmbH” based in Germany. , Braemer is an integral part of USDM’s expansion ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... , April 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ - Prometic Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: ... results at the International Liver Congress ("ILC") 2017 of the ... Amsterdam on the positive effects of ... model of obesity and metabolic syndrome. ... According to Dr. Lyne Gagnon, Vice-President of R&D ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... Minneapolis, MN and Bethesda, MD (PRWEB) , ... ... ... for Advancing Innovation announce the formation of a unique intellectual property (IP) sharing ... commercialization potential of their most promising inventions. A main component of this effort ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... -- For today, Stock-Callers.com redirects investors, attention to ... clinical research aimed at treating diseases and medical conditions. Under ... Inc. (NASDAQ: KERX), Kite Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ: KITE), and ZIOPHARM ... our complimentary research reports on these stocks now at: ... http://stock-callers.com/registration ...
Breaking Biology Technology: