The complete skull of a big-toothed, small-brained male found at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe may erase an entire collection of named, early hominid species by showing they were all, in fact, variations of a single species.
The skull, dated to nearly 1.8 million years ago, is the earliest known human-like species outside of Africa ever found, according to a study published in the latest issue of Science.
It belonged to an adult male of the species Homo erectus, a.k.a. "Upright Man" and is called "Skull 5" because it was the fifth set of hominid remains recovered at the archeological site, Dmanisi, located in the Caucausus of the Republic of Georgia.
"All the Dmanisi individuals are around 1.77 million years old," co-author Christoph Zollikofer from the Anthropological Institute and Museum in Zurich, Switzerland, told Discovery News. "What is very special about Dmanisi Skull 5 is that it is the only known completely preserved and undeformed skull of an adult individual from these remote times."