Breaking News: The Most Intact Homo erectus Female Pelvis

*Excellent news that questions current anthropological thought!!*

The upcoming issue of Science will be publishing the announcement of a newly discovered 1.2 million-year-old female Homo erectus pelvis. The fossil was found in 2001 at the Gona Study Area in the Afar region Ethiopia. Excavations were completed in 2003.

Sileshi Semaw, the leader of the Gona Project, said that the birth canal of this pelvis is 30% larger than earlier estimates based on the 1.5-million-year-old juvenile male pelvis of KNM-WT 15000 (Turkana Boy) found in Kenya. I don’t have an early copy of the paper, but if this is true, this find will make us reevaluate our estimations of Homo erectus growth and development. Current theories, based upon estimations of the existing male skeleton from Kenya, suggested Homo erectus produced babies with only a limited neonatal brain size, and experienced rapid brain growth while still developmentally immature. But as you may know, male and female primate pelvic girdles are extremely different. This new pelvis also tells us of some interesting differences in stature and gait.

Early hominid female pelvic anatomy is basically unknown, in fact we don’t really have much data, really only Lucy’s fragmented pelvis, the 3.2 million year old Australopithecus afarensis. So I’m interested in reading more about this fossil and what it has to tell us of Homo erectus anatomy and early human evolution. I guess I gotta wait until the paper appears in Science. Expect a post about it as soon as I get my hands on the paper.

http://anthropology.net/2008/11/13/breaking-news-the-most-intact-homo-erectus-female-pelvis/

One thought on “Breaking News: The Most Intact Homo erectus Female Pelvis

  1. DianaGainer says:

    Lucy’s birth canal was kidney-shaped and relatively small, altho’ a chimp-sized infant could pass through easily enough, as long as it turned its head to the side as it was being born. The Nariokotome’s pelvis suggested that the birth canal had become more narrow and rounder. The sacral vertebrae, the flare of the ilium, and the long femoral necks all suggested to some that already by 1.5 million years ago, infants must have been born in altricial condition. I’ve always wondered how much bipedalism would prepare for that, since lacking the ability to cling to mama with the feet would have made even Lucy’s offspring more helpless than a chimpanzee’s baby.

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