Techniques for using one stone to pound away pieces of another, creating a rock with smooth faces bordered by razor-sharp edges, "could have been invented independently in different hominid
species through [stone-pounding] behaviors we have yet to identity," Proffitt says.
Researchers from the University of Tubingen in Germany said the ape's diet was similar to that of African hominids
, which only disappeared four million years ago.
And, while Wrangham frequently refers to common chimpanzees as a model for the evolution of hominid
social interactions, he ignores data on female chimpanzee tool use and hunting that would counter some of his arguments.
The researchers believe that the little lady's ancestors arrived on Flores Island some 800,000 years ago or more as full-sized hominids
, but that over the millennia, isolated on the island, their size decreased as a response to a limited food supply or other environmental causes.
But Brunet holds his ground: "I'm completely confident this is a hominid
The fossil material -- a nearly complete cranium, two lower jaw fragments and three isolated teeth -- was recovered between last July and February, and constitutes a new genus and species of hominid
, the articles said.
He said: 'The new hominid
displays a unique combination of primitive and derived characters, suggesting a close relationship to the last common ancestor between humans and chimpanzees, suggesting him as a likely ancestor of all later hominids
Despite a search comprising more than 60 years -- starting in the 1930s with Dr Louis Leakey's site at Olduvai, Tanzania -- there is still only a handful of hominid
skeletons complete enough to provide unequivocal markers in this critical period of development.
Perhaps of greatest potential importance, paleontologists said, is that the new Sterkfontein skeleton should yield insights into a time of transition in hominid
Any organism that is more human than ape is called a hominid
(from a Latin word for "man").
Three of the localities have yielded early hominid
That species is probably not Neandertal or Denisovan, but a different, related hominid
group, said Bohlender, a statistical geneticist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.