For many, human evolution is a discipline of great interest and curiosity – a way to find out who we are and where we come from. Hence it is necessary to find and name our ancestors. The practice of naming is important in science for several reasons, especially because it helps researchers around the world to communicate. So a research team gave a new name to an ancient human ancestor. The new name is Homo Bodoensis; they lived in Africa about half a million years ago. This species was the direct ancestor of modern man.
The need to name this species arose during human evolution at this time – known as the Middle Pleistocene – is poorly understood, a problem paleoanthropologists call “the clutter in the middle.”
The naming is expected to bring some clarity to this enigmatic time when Homo Sapiens rose in Africa, our closest relatives, and Neanderthals rose in Europe. Under the new system, Homo Bodoensis will describe the majority of the Middle Pleistocene people from Africa, while many from Europe will be reclassified as Neanderthals.
“It is widely believed that Homo erectus is the first human ancestor to have global distribution after emigrating from Africa in the early Pleistocene,” said Dr. Mirjana Roksandic, the lead author of the study with Predrag Radovic, told Technology Networks.
“By the end of the early Pleistocene, Homo developed a larger brain. This clever hominin leads to three different regional groups that we recognize as Neanderthals in Europe, their contemporaries in Asia, and the Middle Pleistocene ancestors of Homo Sapiens in Africa. “
Her work has been published in Evolutionary Anthropology Issues News and Reviews. It focuses on the Middle Pleistocene, now known as the Chiban Age. During this time our large brain has developed. But researchers have struggled to study it because “there are major gaps in the geographic coverage of fossils” and the lack of proper terminology for human geographic variation, Roksandic said.
In the past, fossils from this period in Africa and Eurasia were assigned either to Homo heidelbergensis or Homo rhodesiensis. But DNA sequencing later indicated that some of these ancestors were early Neanderthals.
After reevaluating the fossils, Roksandic and her team decided to name the ancestor of Homo sapiens, who lived in Africa during the Chiban Age, Homo Bodoensis. The researcher said that if others take up the name it will have an impact on how we talk about that time.