Thursday, August 09, 2007

Ancient human fossils show women much smaller
Homo erectus, long viewed as a crucial evolutionary link between modern humans and their tree-dwelling ancestors, may have been more ape-like than previously thought, scientists unveiling new-found fossils said on Thursday.

Revealing an ancient skull and a jawbone from two early branches of the human family tree -- Homo erectus and Homo habilis -- a team of Kenyan scientists said they were surprised to find that early female hominids were much smaller than males.

The skull was the first discovery of a female Homo erectus.

Which isn't really the big news here:
Both fossils were found in 2000 east of Lake Turkana. But the Homo erectus skull, dating back 1.55 million years, was slightly older than the Homo habilis jawbone, which was found to be 1.44 million years old, the scientists said.

Not sure you can decide sexual dimorphism when your N=1, but it's at least one data point.