PerspectivePaleoanthropology

Early Hominids--Diversity or Distortion?

Science  28 Mar 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5615, pp. 1994-1997
DOI: 10.1126/science.1078294

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Summary

Recent years have seen the discovery of numerous new hominid species, and the hominid evolutionary tree is now commonly drawn as a complex bush. In his Perspective, White raises a cautionary note, arguing that some fossils may be so distorted that assignment to a new species is premature. Furthermore, natural variation among species must be taken into consideration. The author concludes that it is too early to say whether many more hominid lineages are waiting to be found and recognized in Africa, or whether just a few hominid species expanded their ranges and invaded new habitats.