Small Mid-Pleistocene Hominin Associated with East African Acheulean Technology

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Science  02 Jul 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5680, pp. 75-78
DOI: 10.1126/science.1097661

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Hominin fossils from the African mid-Pleistocene are rare despite abundant Acheulean tools in Africa and apparently African-derived hominins in Eurasia between 1.0 and 0.5 million years ago (Ma). Here we describe an African fossil cranium constrained by 40Ar/39Ar analyses, magnetostratigraphy, and sedimentary features to 0.97 to 0.90 Ma, and stratigraphically associated with Acheulean handaxes. Although the cranium represents possibly the smallest adult or near-adult known between 1.7 and 0.5 Ma, it retains features observed in larger Homo erectus individuals, yet shows a distinct suite of traits indicative of wide population variation in the hominins of this period.

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