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The Macroevolution of our Ancient Lineage: What We Know (or Think We Know) about Early Hominin Diversity
 

Summary: SYNTHESIS
The Macroevolution of our Ancient Lineage: What We Know
(or Think We Know) about Early Hominin Diversity
Rebecca Rogers Ackermann Richard J. Smith
Received: 17 January 2007 / Accepted: 20 March 2007 / Published online: 17 July 2007
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007
Abstract Quantitative, evolutionary models that incor-
porate within- and between-species variation are critical for
interpreting the fossil record of human diversity, and for
making taxonomic distinctions. However, small sample
sizes, sexual dimorphism, temporal trends, geographic
variation, and the limited number of relevant extant models
have always made the consideration of variation difficult
for paleoanthropologists. Here we provide a brief overview
of current early hominin diversity. We then argue that for
many species our limited understanding of within species
variation hampers our ability to make taxonomic decisions
with any level of statistical certainty. Perhaps more sig-
nificantly, the underlying causes of between-species vari-
ation among early hominins are poorly studied. There have

  

Source: Ackermann, Rebecca Rogers - Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine