Contemporaneity of australopithecus, paranthropus, and early homo erectus in South Africa

Andy I.R. Herries, Jesse M. Martin, A. B. Leece, Justin W. Adams, Giovanni Boschian, Renaud Joannes-Boyau, Tara R. Edwards, Tom Mallett, Jason Massey, Ashleigh Murszewski, Simon Neubauer, Robyn Pickering, David S. Strait, Brian J. Armstrong, Stephanie Baker, Matthew V. Caruana, Tim Denham, John Hellstrom, Jacopo Moggi-Cecchi, Simon MokobanePaul Penzo-Kajewski, Douglass S. Rovinsky, Gary T. Schwartz, Rhiannon C. Stammers, Coen Wilson, Jon Woodhead, Colin Menter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaaw7293
Number of pages19
JournalScience
Volume368
Issue number6486
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2020

Cite this

Herries, A. I. R., Martin, J. M., Leece, A. B., Adams, J. W., Boschian, G., Joannes-Boyau, R., Edwards, T. R., Mallett, T., Massey, J., Murszewski, A., Neubauer, S., Pickering, R., Strait, D. S., Armstrong, B. J., Baker, S., Caruana, M. V., Denham, T., Hellstrom, J., Moggi-Cecchi, J., ... Menter, C. (2020). Contemporaneity of australopithecus, paranthropus, and early homo erectus in South Africa. Science, 368(6486), [eaaw7293]. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaw7293