Home » Article » A Complete Skull from Dmanisi, Georgia, and the Evolutionary Biology of Early Homo

A Complete Skull from Dmanisi, Georgia, and the Evolutionary Biology of Early Homo

Dmanisi Cranium. Taken from Lordkipandze et al. (2013) p.327

Dmanisi Cranium. Taken from Lordkipandze et al. (2013) p.327

A cranium excavated in 2005 from Dmanisi, Georgia makes the most complete adult skull known for early Pleistone Homo. This cranium, along with a mandible and post-cranial remains, is of an adult hominin with a small cranial capacity, a moderate body size and a mixture of primitive and derived post-cranial features. As the cranium has not been deformed from taphonomic processes it can provide clear and accurate measurements and interpretation of features. It is found to have large zygomatic arches,with indications for big masticatory muscles and heavily worn, large lower dentition. There face appears to be wide with a large degree of prognathism providing an image of a small brained, large faced, robust individual.

As the cranium is so complete it can provide clues and insights into the degree of variation seen in these hominins found in Dmanisi. Previously the evidence for early Homo morphology was based on two adolescents and one old individual. Although these individuals help with gaining a picture of early Homo it is well-known that during adolescence some of the skeletal elements have not completely fused or grown, and as an individual ages bone degeneration occurs. This new cranium allows researchers to get a more complete and rounded view of these individuals. From this patterns of variation among and between  paleospeciesof early Homo and it has been found that the degree of variation seen within the hominins excavated from Dmanisi are comparable with patterns of variation seen in chimps and bonobos.

This is an exciting find which will help further research and knowledge into the evolution of early Homo.

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