The new fossil evidence reveals an overlap of about 500,000 years during which Homo habilis and Homo erectus must have co-existed in the Turkana basin area, the region of East Africa where the fossils were unearthed.More info at BBC News.
"Their co-existence makes it unlikely that Homo erectus evolved from Homo habilis," said co-author Professor Meave Leakey, palaeontologist and co-director of the Koobi Fora Research Project.
The jaw bone was attributed to Homo habilis because of its distinctive primitive dental characteristics, and was dated to around 1.44 million years ago.
It is the youngest specimen of this species ever found.
The skull was assigned to the species Homo erectus despite being a similar size to that of a habilis skull. Most other erectus skulls found have been considerably larger.
But it displayed typical features of erectus such as a gentle ridge called a "keel" running over the top of the jaw joint. Analysis showed the skull to be about 1.55 million years old.
The new dates indicate that the two species must have lived side by side.
Fossil finds challenge human origins theory
Posted on Friday, Aug 10 2007 @ 06:17 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Scientists announced they've found two hominid fossils in Kenya which may rewrite human origins theory. Previously scientists believed the Homo habilis evolved into the Homo erectus which later evolved into us, but these new finds challenge this theory as it appears that both hominids co-existed for a very long time: