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Name Change Suggested for Ancestors of Modern Humans

Friday, October 29, 2021

Homo BodoensisMANITOBA, CANADA—Live Science reports that paleoanthropologist Mirjana Roksandic of the University of Winnipeg and her colleagues suggest renaming some human ancestors after examining fossils dating from 774,000 to 129,000 years ago. During this period, human fossils from Africa and Eurasia are often identified as either Homo heidelbergensis or Homo rhodesiensis, but recent DNA studies indicate that members of H. heidelbergensis may have been early Neanderthals. Researchers have also spotted differences between H. heidelbergensis fossils unearthed in East Asia and those found in Europe and Africa. Roksandic and her colleagues suggest that a new species be named Homo bodoensis, after a 600,000-year-old skull found in Bodo D’ar, Ethiopia, in 1976. The classification of H. bodoensis would replace H. heidelbergensis and H. rhodesiensis, and include most of the fossils from this time period from Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean. Many of the fossils from Europe would then be reclassified as Neanderthals. “We are not claiming to rewrite human evolution,” Roksandic said. Rather, she hopes the reorganization could help researchers better understand the movement and interaction of human ancestors. Read the original scholarly article about this research in Evolutionary Anthropology. For more, go to "Our Tangled Ancestry."

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