Not all of our prehistoric ancestors were the same. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Tim Evanson
Our distant ancestors came in a variety of different shapes and sizes, just like modern humans do today.
Its easy to imagine that our prehistoric ancestors were all more or less the same height and size, but now new evidence has been found to support the idea that, like us, the people who lived two million years ago exhibited a wide range of different heights, weights and physical characteristics.
This view is now widely favored over the notion that fossils of different sizes belonging to early humans were actually from separate subspecies with minor physical differences.
"If someone asked you 'are modern humans six foot tall and 70kg?' you'd say 'well, some are, but many people aren't, and what we're starting to show is that this diversification happened really early in human evolution," said Dr Jay Stock of Cambridge University.
The study, which was the first in two decades to compare the body sizes of prehistoric humans, involved measurements of fossils found in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and Georgia.
"We can now start thinking about what regional conditions drove the emergence of this diversity, rather than seeing body size as a fixed and fundamental characteristic of a species," said Dr Stock.
Source: Isle of Man Today | Comments (12)