New Hominid 12 Million Years Old Found In Spain, With 'Modern' Facial Features
By SCIENCE DAILY
Added: Mon, 01 Jun 2009 23:00:00 UTC
Thanks to Scott for the link.
Researchers have discovered a fossilized face and jaw from a previously unknown hominoid primate genus in Spain dating to the Middle Miocene era, roughly 12 million years ago. Nicknamed "Lluc," the male bears a strikingly "modern" facial appearance with a flat face, rather than a protruding one. The finding sheds important new light on the evolutionary development of hominids, including orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and humans.
In a study appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Salvador MoyÃ -SolÃ , director of the Institut CatalÃ de Paleontologia (ICP) at the Universitat AutÃ²noma de Barcelona, and colleagues present evidence for the new genus and species, dubbed Anoiapithecus brevirostris. The scientific name is derived from the region where the fossil was found (lâAnoia) and also from its "modern" facial morphology, characterized by a very short face.
The research team at the ICP also includes collaborator David M. Alba, predoctoral researcher Sergio AlmÃ©cija, postdoctoral researcher Isaac Casanovas, researcher Meike KÃ¶hler, postdoctoral researcher Soledad De Esteban, collaborator Josep M. Robles, curator Jordi Galindo, and predoctoral researcher Josep Fortuny.
Their findings are based on a partial cranium that preserves most of the face and the associated mandible. The cranium was unearthed in 2004 in the fossil-rich area of Abocador de Can Mata (els Hostalets de Pierola, lâAnoia, Barcelona), where remains of other fossilized hominid species have been found. Preparing the fossil for study was a complicated process, due to the fragility of the remains. But once the material was available for analysis, the results were surprising: The specimen (IPS43000) combined a set of features that, until now, had never been found in the fossil record.
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