Thursday, May 28, 2015

[PaleoAnthropology • 2015] Australopithecus deyiremeda • New Species from Ethiopia further expands Middle Pliocene Hominin Diversity

Australopithecus deyiremeda Haile-Selassie, Gibert, Melillo, Ryan, Alene, Deino, Levin, Scott & Saylor, 2015

Middle Pliocene hominin species diversity has been a subject of debate over the past two decades, particularly after the naming of Australopithecus bahrelghazali and Kenyanthropus platyops in addition to the well-known species Australopithecus afarensis. Further analyses continue to support the proposal that several hominin species co-existed during this time period. Here we recognize a new hominin species (Australopithecus deyiremeda sp. nov.) from 3.3–3.5-million-year-old deposits in the Woranso–Mille study area, central Afar, Ethiopia. The new species from Woranso–Mille shows that there were at least two contemporaneous hominin species living in the Afar region of Ethiopia between 3.3 and 3.5 million years ago, and further confirms early hominin taxonomic diversity in eastern Africa during the Middle Pliocene epoch. The morphology of Au. deyiremeda also reinforces concerns related to dentognathic (that is, jaws and teeth) homoplasy in Plio–Pleistocene hominins, and shows that some dentognathic features traditionally associated with Paranthropus and Homo appeared in the fossil record earlier than previously thought.

Figure 1: Australopithecus deyiremeda Holotype BRT-VP-3/1. a, Occlusal view. b, Lateral view. c, Superior view. d, Medial view. e, Anterior view.
Paratype BRT-VP-3/14. f, Occlusal view. g, Right lateral view. h, Basal view.
Paratype WYT-VP-2/10. i, Occlusal view. j, Right lateral view. k, Basal view.
Referred specimen BRT-VP-3/37. l, Occlusal view. m, Buccal view. n, Lingual view. o, Distal view. p, Mesial view.

Order Primates Linnaeus, 1758 
Suborder Anthropoidea Mivart, 1864 

Superfamily Hominoidea Gray, 1825 

Genus Australopithecus Dart, 1925 

Australopithecus deyiremeda sp. nov.

Etymology: From the local Afar language terms deyi, meaning close, and remeda, meaning relative; thus referring to the species being a close relative of all later hominins.

Holotype: BRT-VP-3/1 (Fig. 1a–e), a left maxilla with upper second incisor–upper second molar (I2–M2) found by M. Barao on 4 March 2011. The originals of the holotype and paratypes are housed at the Paleoanthropology Laboratory of the National Museum of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa.

Yohannes Haile-Selassie, Luis Gibert, Stephanie M. Melillo, Timothy M. Ryan, Mulugeta Alene, Alan Deino, Naomi E. Levin, Gary Scott and Beverly Z. Saylor. 2015. New Species from Ethiopia further expands Middle Pliocene Hominin Diversity.
Nature. 521, 483-488; doi: 10.1038/nature14448

New human ancestor discovered near fossil of ‘Lucy’
Australopithecus deyiremeda lived about 3.4 million years ago in northern Ethiopia, around the same time and place as Australopithecus afarensis. .... Nature. doi: 10.1038/nature.2015.17644
Palaeoanthropology: The middle Pliocene gets crowded

Australopithecus deyiremeda: New Human Ancestor In Ethiopia via @science2_0
New species of human ancestor lived alongside 'Lucy' 3.4m years ago via @MailOnline