Paleontologists Discover fossils believed to be from two new pre-human species

A team of paleontologists led by Meave Leakey has found some facial bones coming from one creature and jawbones from two others in a Kenyan dig. The fossils go back almost 2,000,000 years, and the paleontologists believe that these bones will confirm the theory that there were two additional pre-human species other than the one they believe led to modern humans.

The paleontologists believe that the bone shows that early human ancestors had company from other human-like species. The scientists say that the bones found would not be of the Homo erectus, Homo erectus is believed to be the direct ancestor of modern humans. The new bones go back further in time, and the scientists believe the bones showed the new creature and Homo erectus shared an ancient common ancestor. The scientists say that the recently discovered fossils would be more akin to very distant cousins to Homo erectus.

However, not all experts on the matter agree. Other experts believe that Leakey and her team are jumping to conclusions based on limited evidence. However, Leakey and her team maintain that none of the new fossils discovered are a match for Homo erectus and therefore have to be from another flat-faced, large species with big teeth.

Interestingly, the newly discovered bones did match old fossils that Meave Leakey, and her husband, helped discover in 1972. The new skull fragments match another skull called 1470. That particular skull caused a controversy in the paleontology community when it was ruled that the skull had been incorrectly dated. The 1972 skull was originally dated at more than 2.5 million years old and was later found to be more than 2 million years old. Other evidence leads the Leakeys to believe that there were three living Homo species between 1.8 and 2 million years ago including Homo erectus, the 1470 species, and a third branch with smaller heads.

[via BendBulletin]