A study which analyzed statistical fossil data argues that a two-million-year-old ancient human fossil from South Africa doesn’t seem to be the direct ancestor of the Homo, the umbrella term for the genus which includes modern-day humans.
The fossils are known under the name of Australopithecus sediba. The first fossil was found close to Johannesburg in 2008. A large number of fragments have been collected since then, and most of them date up to two million years ago. However, the oldest fossil that has been linked to the Homo genus is a jawbone fragment recovered from Ethiopia, which is about 2.8 million years old, which means that it is older than A. sediba by 800,000 years.
The age difference between the fossils is quite large, but the researchers who discovered the A. sediba fossils argued that they were one of the precursors of the Homo. Some scientists speculate that it is possible that A.sediba may postdate the earliest Homo, but new surveys indicate this chronology is highly improbable.
The ancestor of modern humans did not emerge from South Africa, ancient human fossil study suggests
One of the study contributors has stated that while the fossil of the ancestor and postdate that of the descendant in some cases in this particular context, scientific modes infer that the probability is close to zero.
The team examined other instances in an attempt to learn more. Several cases were analyzed and the theory applied in the case of a single pair of fossils. Even then, the age difference between them reached 100, 000 years, which was considerably lower in comparison to the 800,000 gap between A. sediba and the earliest homo species.
The researchers believe that the Australopithecus Afarensis is a superior candidate as an ancestor of the Homo. These fossils are up to three million years old, which places them in the same timeframe as the jaw fragment found in Ethiopia. The study was published in a peer-reviewed journal.