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Fourth echelon

Study: Homo genus origins not dictated by body size increase

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Research suggests that the general trajectory of evolution tends to produce larger and larger species. But it's a truism with many exceptions and even more subtleties. One of those exceptions is the Homo genus.

New analysis of the sizes of early hominin specimens suggests, contrary to popular theory, that the origins of the Homo genus -- which spawned Homo sapiens -- did not coincide with, nor was precipitated by, an uptick in body mass.

According to the new research, published in the Journal of Human Evolution, the earliest Homo specimens did not differ significantly in size from their immediate ancestors.

The work, conducted by scientists at George Washington University, included the largest analysis of early hominids yet performed. The results suggest the earliest specimens from the Homo genus were in fact smaller than previously estimated. Instead of at the outset, researchers place the jump in body size in midst of Homo evolution.



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