Features of southeast European human ancestors influenced by lack of episodic glaciations
A fragment of human lower jaw recovered from a Serbian cave is the oldest human ancestor found in this part of Europe, who probably evolved under different conditions than populations that inhabited more western parts of the continent at the same time, according to research published February 6 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by William Jack Rink of McMaster University, Canada, and the international team under the direction of Dušan Mihailović, University of Belgrade, Serbia, and Mirjana Roksandic, University of Winnipeg, Canada. The fossil was found to be at least 397,000 years old and possibly older than 525,000 years old, a time when distinctly Neandertal traits began to appear in Europe. The evolution of these traits was strongly influenced by periodic isolation of groups of individuals, caused by episodic formation of glaciers. Humans in southeastern Europe were never geographically isolated from Asia and Africa by glaciers, and according to the authors, this resulted in different evolutionary forces acting on early human populations in this region.
Roksandic explains that their study confirms the importance of southeast Europe as a 'gate to the continent' and one of the three main areas where humans, plants and animals sought refuge during glaciations in prehistoric times. She adds, "We have very few fossils of hominins in general from this time, a period that was critical for shaping the appearance and evolution of uniquely human morphology and behaviors."
Source: Public Library of Science
- Features of southeast European human ancestors influenced by lack of episodic glaciationsfrom Science DailyWed, 6 Feb 2013, 23:30:23 EST
- Features of southeast European human ancestors influenced by lack of episodic glaciationsfrom PhysorgWed, 6 Feb 2013, 17:01:02 EST
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Learn more about
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- A clear, molecular view of how human color vision evolved
- Time management skills keep animals primed for survival
- Study on world's biggest animal finds more than 1 population in the southeastern Pacific
- Computational clues into the structure of a promising energy conversion catalyst
- Yellowstone's thermal springs -- their colors unveiled
- Study supports the theory that men are idiots
- Kids' cartoon characters twice as likely to die as counterparts in films for adults
- Herd mentality: Are we programmed to make bad decisions?
- Evidence of Viking/Norse metalworking in Arctic Canada
- NASA Goddard instrument makes first detection of organic matter on Mars