Fossil by fossil, scientists over the last 40 years have suspected that their models for the more immediate human family tree — the single trunk, straight as a Ponderosa pine, up from Homo habilis to Homo erectus to Homo sapiens — were oversimplified. The discovery of three new fossil specimens, announced Wednesday, is the most compelling evidence yet for multiple lines of evolution in our own genus, Homo, scientists said.
The fossils showed that there were at least two contemporary Homo species, in addition to Homo erectus, living in East Africa as early as two million years ago.
That means, in her mind, it is assumed to be a pre-human, and under the assumption that humans evolved from apes, it could be an ancestor of Homo sapiens, or, like one of the many new rival hominids, it may have lived millions of years ago but became extinct and died out without an ancestral link to modern humans.
Readers have to scan news reports for the assumptions and qualifiers.
The 1470 specimen was two million years old; the new face and fragmentary jaw are 1.9 million to 1.95 million years old; the better-preserved lower jaw is younger still, at 1.83 million years old.