Ancient skull discovery – Researchers have discovered the fossilized skull of an early human relative, which they say is the most complete skull ever of the early Homo genus, in Dmanisi, Georgia. They say it could represent a single evolving Homo erectus lineage that came out of Africa and spread into Europe and Asia -- a conclusion that is controversial.
Ancient skull discovery – What did the individual look like whose complete skull was found? Here is one interpretation, by artist J.H. Matternes.
Ancient skull discovery – Researchers say that all of the five Dmanisi Homo skulls came from individuals in a single species. They say fossils classified as other Homo species from around this time, such as Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, may actually also be examples of Homo erectus.
Ancient skull discovery – Skull 5, 1.8 million years old, was discovered in the same site as four other skulls that researchers say are from the same Homo erectus species, as well as herbivore animal fossil remains, pictured here alongside Skull 5.
Ancient skull discovery – Dmanisi, Georgia, has a medieval town located near the excavation site shown to the right of the town. About 50,000 square meters of this site remain to excavated, so many more remnants of life 1.8 million years ago may be uncovered.
Ancient skull discovery – This skull, known as Skull 5, was matched to a jaw -- pictured here -- that was found several years earlier.
Ancient skull discovery – Researchers involved in the Dmanisi excavation and research include Ann Margvelashvili, from left, Abesalom Vekua, Christoph Zollikofer, David Lordkipanidze, and Marcia Ponce de Leon. The variation in physical features among early Homo remains at Dmanisi is no greater than variations found in people today, they say.