New hominin genus from eastern Africa shows diverse middle Pliocene lineages

@article{Leakey2001NewHG,
  title={New hominin genus from eastern Africa shows diverse middle Pliocene lineages},
  author={Meave G. Leakey and Fred Spoor and Francis H. Brown and Patrick N. Gathogo and Christopher Kiarie and Louise N. Leakey and Ian Mcdougall},
  journal={Nature},
  year={2001},
  volume={410},
  pages={433-440}
}
Most interpretations of early hominin phylogeny recognize a single early to middle Pliocene ancestral lineage, best represented by Australopithecus afarensis, which gave rise to a radiation of taxa in the late Pliocene. Here we report on new fossils discovered west of Lake Turkana, Kenya, which differ markedly from those of contemporary A. afarensis, indicating that hominin taxonomic diversity extended back, well into the middle Pliocene. A 3.5 Myr-old cranium, showing a unique combination of… 

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  • F. Spoor
  • Geography, Environmental Science
    Nature
  • 2015
Another Middle Pliocene hominin, Australopithecus deyiremida, is described, which lived in Ethiopia at around the same time as Australipithecus afarensis ('Lucy') and other species such as Kenyanthropus platyops in Kenya and its morphology suggests that some dental features traditionally associated with later genera such as Paranthropus and Homo emerged earlier than previously thought.

A 3.8-million-year-old hominin cranium from Woranso-Mille, Ethiopia

A nearly complete hominin cranium from Woranso-Mille (Ethiopia) that is date to 3.8 million years ago is described, providing the first glimpse of the entire craniofacial morphology of the earliest known members of the genus Australopithecus.

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A large body of evidence to date, including palaeontological, geological, environmental, archaeological, ecological and biogeographic data allow the reconstruction of the major phases of early hominin evolution, including the onset of biocultural evolution of humans in Africa.
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