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“We are more certain that 1470 was not a one-off, and not everything 1470 is big.” In their first formal report, Dr.Leakey and her colleagues wrote in the journal Nature, “These three specimens will greatly aid the reassessment of the systematics and early radiation of the genus Homo.” They, however, chose not to assign the fossils to any existing or new species until more analysis is conducted on contemporary hominids.When you read the news reports carefully you see how eager scientists and reporters are to turn speculation into scientific fact.The Boston Globe headline reads: "New fossil adds an early branch to the human family tree." But in the Associated Press story, Meave Leakey, who discovered Flat-faced man, is quoted as saying the chances are 50-50 this species could have been an early ancestor of human beings.Lieberman, Department of Anthropology, George Washington University, says "These fossils were all found in deposits reliably dated to between 3.5 million and 3.2 million years ago." [Nature, March 22, 2001] Paleontologists continue to date fossils by the layer of earth they are found in, and the layer of the earth by the fossils typically found there, which is circular reasoning.Scientists maintain sedimentary layers were laid down at a constant rate that can be measured and that fossils found at the bottom of the heap are the oldest and most primitive and are millions of years old, and precede man (called uniformitarianism). New dating techniques are now being employed rather than just relying on the rock strata.Tattersall continued, “And it supports the view that the early history of Homo involved vigorous experimentation with the biological and behavioral potential of the new genus, instead of a slow process of refinement in a central lineage.” Bernard Wood of George Washington University, who has studied the early Homo fossil record, wrote in a companion article in Nature, “In a nutshell, the anatomy of the specimens supports the hypothesis of multiple early Homo species.” Dr.Wood then weighed the pros and cons of placing the new fossils with the species H.
Stringer said, is that in the last three decades, as the number of fossils attributed to habilis has grown, it has become unclear how to define what is and is not a member of that Homo species.
Uncovered from sandstone at Koobi Fora, badlands near Lake Turkana in Kenya, the specimens included a well-preserved skull of a late juvenile with a relatively large braincase and a long, flat face, which has been designated KNM-ER 62000 (62000 for short).
It bears a striking resemblance to the enigmatic cranium known as 1470, the center of debate over multiple lineages since its discovery in the same area in 1972.
After looking “long and hard” for fossils to confirm the intriguing features of 1470’s face and show what its teeth and lower jaw were like, Dr.
Meave Leakey said this week, “At last we have some answers.” The real crux of matter, said Susan C.