Kenyan Fossil Rattles Human Family Tree

Skull suggests two precursors were actually concurrent
By Janice Eisen,  Newser User
Posted Aug 9, 2007 8:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – Two of our ancestors apparently lived alongside each other in Africa rather than evolving from one to the next on the path to Homo sapiens, as scientists once believed. National Geographic reports that a Homo habilis skull dug up in Kenya is surprisingly young, making its 1.4 million-year-old owner a neighbor to Homo erectus rather than an evolutionary forerunner.

Scientists say that the two species may have co-existed in eastern Africa without competing for resources, the bigger and more mobile Homo erectus hunting for food while habilis scrounged around for smaller prey. “A good analogy is the chimps and gorillas,” says Fred Spoor, the main author of the study. He added that a common ancestor of the two species remains to be found.