Contemporaneity of Australopithecus, Paranthropus, and early Homo erectus in South Africa
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Understanding the extinction of Australopithecus and origins of Paranthropus and Homo in South Africa has been hampered by the perceived complex geological context of hominin fossils, poor chronological resolution, and a lack of well-preserved early Homo specimens. We describe, date, and contextualize the discovery of two hominin crania from Drimolen Main Quarry in South Africa. At ~2.04 million to 1.95 million years old, DNH 152 represents the earliest definitive occurrence of Paranthropus robustus, and DNH 134 represents the earliest occurrence of a cranium with clear affinities to Homo erectus. These crania also show that Homo, Paranthropus, and Australopithecus were contemporaneous at ~2 million years ago. This high taxonomic diversity is also reflected in non-hominin species and provides evidence of endemic evolution and dispersal during a period of climatic variability.
Contemporaneity, Australopithecus, Paranthropus, Early Homo Erectus, South Africa
Science, Vol. 368, no. 6486 (2020-04-03).
Herries, Andy I.R.; Martin, Jesse M.; and Leece, A. B., "Contemporaneity of Australopithecus, Paranthropus, and early Homo erectus in South Africa" (2020). KIP Articles. 1228.