Susan S. Chin (
Wed, 20 Nov 1996 05:43:20 GMT

Ralph L Holloway ( wrote:
: For those tired of the Carboniferous coal-skull, try the NY Times
: Science Section, starting on the front page of the first section, of the
: newly discovered Homo maxilla found at Hadar dating to 2.3 million years
: ago. Was found in 1994 and is just published in the most recent issue of
: Journal of Human Evolution. In particular read about the descriptions of
: the ecology of the times, and see how the savannah strawman arguments
: evaporate...
: Ralph Holloway

Thanks for the reference. The version of the NY Times article I downloaded
actually contained a horribly glaring error... I'm curious if it appeared
in the paper version as well? Towards the end of the article, the author,
John Wilkes Noble, mentions that anatomically modern Homo sapiens
appeared 200 million to 100 million years ago. Now if that isn't a typo,
I'm not sure what is!

Also, the article mentions that both halves of the maxilla, including the
palate, was recovered. Since no mention was made of any teeth found, I
assume that none were. They were able to determine that the maxilla
belongs to genus Homo from the more parabolic shape of the arcade, wider
palate, less protruding facial region. But the species designation is
currently indeterminate, pending more diagnostic finds from the cranial

What I'm curious about is, if they had found teeth associated with the
maxilla... say an upper canine and molar, would there be enough
diagnostic features to distinguish whether this was habilis, rudolfensis,
erectus or as one interested paleo-researcher suggests, a new species of
Homo? Or would we still need to wait for more diagnostic fossils?

BTW, the Hadar environment 2.3myo was interpreted as a woodland type
area, from what I recall of the NY Times article...