Anthropology, Texas A & M University
Saturday All day, Plaza Level
The evaluation of the morphological affinities of the first hominins to leave Africa is of critical importance to the clarification of the routes and patterns of the first dispersal events. The Dmanisi site has the potential to answer questions as to the timing and basis of the initial dispersal of hominins outside of Africa. The morphological affinities of the Dmanisi hominins (D2280, 2282 and 2700) were examined using discriminant function analysis (DFA) with published cranial measurements. The Dmanisi crania have been suggested to share morphological features with Homo habilis sensu lato as well as African and Asian H. erectus because of this the comparative sample chosen consisted of hominin crania which are commonly attributed to early Homo, including H. habilis sensu lato, H. habilis sensu stricto, H. rudolfensis, H. erectus s. l., H. erectus s. s. and H. ergaster.
Since DFA was used, the predefined classification of the comparative sample governed the classification of the Dmanisi hominins. Therefore, 4 models of commonly proposed early Homo phylogeny were utilized. The results indicate that the Dmanisi hominins appear to be quite variable; in fact, to such a degree that different analyses resulted in differing taxonomic affinities. The resulting inconsistencies in taxonomic classification in this study suggest that the Dmanisi hominins may not fit in smoothly with existing hypodigms. The findings of this study are consistent with those of other researchers and suggest that the Dmanisi hominins may represent a group near the stem of the Homo clade.