The upright ancestor of man was 200,000 years older than scientists thought

The bipedal human ancestor was 200,000 years older than scientists thought. This is the conclusion reached by researchers from Johannesburg University based on an analysis of the skull found during excavations in South Africa. An article describing the study was published in the journal Science.

A fossilized skull was discovered during excavations in an area called the “Cradle of Humanity”, located northwest of Johannesburg. In the same place, researchers have repeatedly managed to find the remains of hominids, the direct upright ancestors of modern man.

Researchers were able to collect not a full skull, but only its upper part – scientists call it the “skullcap”. During the year, archaeologists discovered individual fragments of the skull and collected it only by the end of 2019.

“In an attempt to determine what kind of hominids the remains we discovered belong to, we compared the collected skullcap with other samples of hominid bones in the same area. In the end, because of its drop-shaped shape and relatively large cavity of the brain, we realized that we are talking about Homo erectus”.

Stephanie Baker, lead author of the study

Homo erectus is the first unconditional upright ancestors of man, who are believed to be the first to use tools, produce fire and process food. Until now, the oldest confirmed remains of Homo erectus have been 1.8 million years old bones discovered in Dmanisi, Georgia. Analysis of the new find showed that she was 2.04 million years old.

“The age of the fossil shows that Homo erectus existed 150-200,000 years earlier than previously thought”.

Stephanie Baker, lead author of the study

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