Fossil range: Pleistocene
Vekua et al, 2002
Homo georgicus is a species of hominin that was suggested in 2002 to describe fossil skulls and jaws found in Dmanisi, Georgia in 1999 and 2001, which seem intermediate between Homo habilis and H. erectus. A partial skeleton was discovered in 2001. The fossils are about 1.8 million years old. The remains were first discovered in 1991 by Georgian scientist, David Lordkipanidze, accompanied by an international team which unearthed the hominin remains. Implements and animal bones were found alongside the ancient hominin remains.
At first, scientists thought they had found thirty or so skulls belonging to Homo ergaster, but size differences led them to consider erecting a new species, Homo georgicus, which would be the descendant of Homo habilis and ancestor of Asian Homo erectus.
At around 600cc brain volume, the skull D2700 is dated to 1.8 million years old and in good condition offering insights in comparison to the modern human cranial morphology. The cranium was the smallest and most primitive hominine skull ever discovered outside of Africa where typical hominines, Australopithecines and early genus Homo represent two distinctive evolutionary paths sharing a common ancestor. In Georgia the specimens with a brain half the size compared to modern Homo sapiens were considered the smallest until the discovery of Homo floresiensis from the island of Flores. There is a strong sexual dimorphism present in the morphological beings revealing a primitive trait (less present in more modern humans in Europe (ie. Homo antecessor, Homo heidelbergensis and Homo neanderthalensis), with males being significantly larger than females. Due to the dwarf morphology of this hominine, no subsequent role of H. georgicus can be so far determined. Theories remain debatable whether or not these hominines had a greater intelligence closer in equivalence to modern humans than previous hominines despite the small cranial capacity. H. georgicus may be the first hominin species to settle in Europe, some 800,000 years before H. erectus.
Subsequently, four fossil skeletons were found, showing a species primitive in its skull and upper body but with relatively advanced spines and lower limbs, providing greater mobility. They are now thought not to be a separate species, but to represent a stage soon after the transition between Australopithecus and Homo erectus, and have been dated at 1.8 million years before the present, according to the leader of the project, David Lordkipanidze.
- A. Vekua, D. Lordkipanidze, G. P. Rightmire, J. Agusti, R. Ferring, G. Maisuradze; et al. (2002). "A new skull of early Homo from Dmanisi, Georgia". Science. 297: 85–9.
- Wilford, John Noble (2007-09-19). "New fossils Offer Glance of Human Ancestors". The New York Times. Check date values in:
- Hominid species
- Skull D2700 (includes some Creationist responses)