Early hominin diversity and the emergence of the genus Homo.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Harcourt-Smith, William
Year of Publication: 2016
Journal: J Anthropol Sci
Volume: 94
Pagination: 19-27
Date Published: 2016 Jun 20
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 2037-0644

Bipedalism is a defining trait of hominins, as all members of the clade are argued to possess at least some characters indicative of this unusual form of locomotion. Traditionally the evolution of bipedalism has been treated in a somewhat linear way. This has been challenged in the last decade or so, and in this paper I consider this view in light of the considerable new fossil hominin discoveries of the last few years. It is now apparent that there was even more locomotor diversity and experimentation across hominins than previously thought, and with the discovery of taxa such as H. floresiensis and H. naledi, that diversity continues well into the genus Homo. Based on these findings,we need to reevaluate how we define members of the genus Homo, at least when considering postcranial morphology, and accept that the evolution of hominin bipedalism was a complex and messy affair. It is within that context that the modern human form of bipedal locomotion emerged.

DOI: 10.4436/JASS.94035
Alternate Journal: J Anthropol Sci