And shamelessly flaunting its contempt for conventional wisdom in the public press.In most scenarios of human evolution, erectus's role was essentially to mark time--a million and a half years of it--between its obscure, presumed origins in East Africa just under 2 million years ago and its much more recent evolution into something deserving the name sapiens.The latter was usually classified as a subspecies of Homo sapiens, i.e. Consequently “archaic Homo sapiens” is itself regarded as a separate species, with the 1907 name Homo heidelbergensis having seniority under the rules of taxonomy. Whether or not Homo heidelbergensis is a genuine species or simply a grade of “Version 3.0 human" containing several species remains controversial.
The posture and teeth settings were, however, clearly human.
It was necessary however to dispense with one particularly inconvenient Homo fossil, a fairly modern-looking maxilla from the Hadar region of Ethiopia, A. 666-1, because it carries a date of 2.33 Ma, pre-dating (by evolutionary reckoning) any revised date possible for Au. Berger’s team explains, however, that “While the specimen does indeed align with fossils attributed to Homo, it does not do so to the exclusion of australopiths.”8 In other words, A. 666-1 might not really be Homo because it is sort of a mosaic of features, including some seen in australopithecines. Having eliminated the inconveniently old jaw from competition, Berger’s sediba only had to prove to be older than 1.90 Ma.
This target date was settled on the basis of Homo erectus fossils from Koobi Fora, Swartkans, and Dmansi, which collectively date in the 1.78–1.90 Ma range.
Excavation has yielded fossils of an adult female, “a boy estimated to be 11 or 12 years old,”1 and an infant.
In hopes of achieving fame for providing a South African occupant for the evolutionary cradle of mankind, Berger named the newly discovered australophithecine species sediba, meaning “wellspring.” The adult and “boy” made their debut in the 9 April 2010 issue of Science2 to mixed reviews.