An ability to hear, and presumably make, these sounds enhanced communication among hominids
foraging in groups across open landscapes, the researchers propose.
Ours was an ape ancestry, but there was no way for Darwin and his contemporaries to sketch out the specifics of the common ancestors we hominids
once shared with living great apes (here, Hominidae encompasses all species on the human side of our phylogenetic split with the chimpanzee lineage).
This conclusion is further corroborated by electron microscope analysis of the tooth's masticatory surface, which reveals that the Bulgarian hominid
had consumed hard and abrasive objects like grass, seeds, and nuts.
Preliminary, not-yet-published results show the presence of what could be fossilised insect eggs and hints of a potential brain remnant of the hominid
But the team is also in search of more evidence of hominids
The spring-like tendons that developed in humans are not nearly as apparent in early hominids
Remains of a second hominid
of the same size and stature has been dated to 74,000 years ago.
To determine if the skull belonged to a hominid
, Brunet's team obsessed over its every detail (see diagram, p.
The Mission Paleoanthropologique Franco-Tchadienne, led by Michael Brunet, professor at the University of Poitiers, France, said in a press release it has found six hominid
specimens from the Djurab desert in northern Chad.
He said its significance rivalled that of Australopithecus africanus, the first hominid
discovered 77 years ago, which confirmed the African origin of humans.
And when finds are made, they have to be fitted into a vast time scale; depending on how we define the term "human", we are looking at a period of initial hominid
development of between six and three million years ago.
Paleontologists will not be able to identify the species of this hominid
, or human forerunner, until all the bones are removed from the rock layers where they are embedded in the Sterkfontein cave, the site of many discoveries of early-human remains.