Expanded Distance-based Phylogenetic Analyses of Fossil Homo Skull Shape Evolution

Expanded Distance-based Phylogenetic Analyses of Fossil Homo Skull Shape Evolution
Peter J. Waddell

Analyses of a set of 47 fossil and 4 modern skulls using phylogenetic geometric morphometric methods corroborate and refine earlier results. These include evidence that the African Iwo Eleru skull, only about 12,000 years old, indeed represents a new species of near human. In contrast, the earliest known anatomically modern human skull, Qafzeh 9, the skull of Eve from Israel/Palestine, is validated as fully modern in form. Analyses clearly show evidence of archaic introgression into Gravettian, pre_Gravettian, Qafzeh, and Upper Cave (China) populations of near modern humans, and in about that order of increasing archaic content. The enigmatic Saldahna (Elandsfontein) skull emerges as a probable first representative of that lineage, which exclusive of Neanderthals that, eventually lead to modern humans. There is also evidence that the poorly dated Kabwe (Broken Hill) skull represents a much earlier distinct lineage. The clarity of the results bode well for quantitative statistical phylogenetic methods making significant inroads in the stalemates of paleoanthropology.

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