Homo sapiens idaltu
Fossil range: Pleistocene
| †Homo sapiens idaltu|
White et al, 2003
The fossilized remains of H. s. idaltu were discovered at Herto Bouri in the Middle Awash site of Ethiopia's Afar Triangle in 1997 by Tim White, but were first unveiled in 2003. Herto Bouri is a region of Ethiopia under volcanic layers. By using radioisotope dating, the layers date between 154,000 and 160,000 years old. Three well preserved craniums are accounted for, the best preserved being from an adult male (BOU-VP-16/1) having a brain capacity of 1450 cm³. The other crania include another partial adult male and a six year old child.
These fossils differ from those of early (but chronologically later) forms of H. sapiens such as Cro-Magnon found in Europe and other parts of the world in that their morphology has many archaic features not typical of H. sapiens (although modern human skulls do differ across the globe). Despite the archaic features, these specimens are postulated to represent the direct ancestors of modern Homo sapiens sapiens, which according to the recent "Out of Africa" theory developed shortly after this period (Khoisan mitochondrial divergence dated not later than 110,000 B.P.) in Eastern Africa, and as such, to be the oldest representative of the H. sapiens species found so far.
- White, et al (2003). "Pleistocene Homo sapiens from Middle Awash, Ethiopia". Nature 423 (6491): 742-7. doi:10.1038/nature01669.
- New evidence that Homo Sapiens originated in Israel
- Oldest Homo Sapiens Fossils Found, Experts Say (National Geographic News)
- Chris Stringer comments on the 2003-findings (Natural History Museum)
- BBC report and image of the reconstructed skull discovered at Herto