Homo sapiens idaltu

  • Ethiopia

Homo sapiens idaltu (also: Herto Skull ) is a name for the genus Homo fossils from Ethiopia that were dated by the 39Ar - 40Ar method on an age 160000-154000 years. In the first description the fossils were interpreted due to their morphology as belonging to the direct ancestry of modern humans (Homo sapiens). Idaltu is a word the Afar language and means " tribal elder".

The finds included a previously existing between the time before 300,000 years ago and 100,000 gap in the sequence certainly dated Homo fossils; they are considered as further evidence for the applying of out- of-Africa theory.

Description of findings

The first description of Herto discoveries based on three broken but largely complete skulls and a skull fragment, which had been in 1997 at the Middle Awash, near the Ethiopian village of Herto found. It's skeletal remains of three adults (one of which was interpreted as male ) and a six to seven year old child. The best conserved ( "male" ) skull had a brain volume of 1450 cc, which corresponds to that of a modern human. He was chosen as the type specimen for Homo sapiens idaltu (archive number BOU- VP-16 /1) and is kept together with the other findings in the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa.

The shape of the skull shows Herto According to the original description no particular proximity to the skull features of the recent African populations; the greatest similarity exists to Australian Aborigines and oceanic aborigines.

Overall, the skull shape soft but both significantly from the older, the archaic Homo sapiens detected finds from Kabwe ( "Homo rhodesiensis " ) from and by the younger of the Qafzeh Cave in Israel. The skull shape was therefore referred to as intermediate and derived from the right to name the fossils as extinct subspecies of Homo sapiens ( in the sense of Chrono species). This arrangement was, however, already criticized at the time they were first published by Chris Stringer and has been controversial, as other specialist scientists the differences to the younger finds of Homo sapiens due to the large variability of the type described appear to be low.

Associated finds

The accompanying finds were stone tools from the late Acheulian as well as remains of fossil horses (Equus ), wildebeest (Connochaetes ), waterbuck (Kobus ), cane rats ( Thryonomys ) and hippos, suggesting a habitat of savanna and freshwater areas.