… Dr. Bromage’s findings call into question the extent to which H. rudolfensis differed from earlier, more apelike hominid species. Specifically, he is the first scientist to produce a reconstruction of the skull that questions renowned paleontologist and archeologist Richard Leakey’s depiction of modern man’s earliest direct ancestor as having a vertical facial profile and a relatively large brain — an interpretation widely accepted until now…

“Dr. Leakey produced an intrinsically biased reconstruction based on erroneous preconceived expectations of early human appearance that violated principles of craniofacial development,” said Dr. Bromage, whose reconstruction, by contrast, shows a sharply protruding jaw and, together with colleague Francis Thackeray, Transvaal Museum, South Africa, a brain less than half the size of a modern human’s. These characteristics make the 1.9 million-year-old early human skull more like those of two archaic, apelike hominids, Australopithecus and early Paranthropus, living at least three million and 2.5 million years ago, respectively…

“Because he did not employ biological principles, Dr. Leakey produced a reconstruction that could not have existed in real life,” Dr. Bromage concluded.

More… (source)

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