Evolution of the ‘Homo’ genus: New mysteries and perspectives


This work reviews the main questions surrounding the evolution of the genus Homo, such as its origin, the problem of variability in Homo erectus and the impact of palaeogenomics. A consensus has not yet been reached regarding which Australopithecus candidate gave rise to the first representatives assignable to Homo and this discussion even affects the recognition of the H. habilis and H. rudolfensis species. Regarding the variability of the first palaeodemes assigned to Homo, the discovery of the Dmanisi site in Georgia called into question some of the criteria used until now to distinguish between species like H. erectus or H. ergaster. Finally, the emergence of palaeogenomics has provided evidence that the flow of genetic material between old hominin populations was wider than expected.


palaeogenomics; Homo genus; hominins; variability; Dmanisi

Full Text:



  1. Agustí, J., & Lordkipanidze, D. (2005). Los primeros pobladores de Europa. Barcelona: RBA.

  2. Green, R. E., Krause, J., Briggs, A. W., Maricic, T., Stenzel, U., Kircher, M., ... Pääbo, S. (2010). A draft sequence of the Neandertal genome. Science, 328, 710–722. doi: 10.1126/science.-1188021 

  3. Krause, J., Fu, Q., Good, J. F., Viola, B., Shunkov, M. V., Derevianko, A. P., & Pääbo, S. (2010). The complete mitochondrial DNA genome of an unknown hominin from southern Siberia. Nature, 464, 894–897. doi: 10.1038/nature08976 

  4. Krings, M., Stone, A., Schmitz, R. W., Krainitzki, H., Stoneking, & Pääbo, S. (1997). Neandertal DNA sequences and the origin of modern humans. Cell, 90, 19–30. doi: 10.1016/S0092-8674(00)80310-4

  5. Lordkipanidze, D., Jashashvili, T., Vekua, A., Ponce de León, M., Zollikofer, C., Rightmire, … Nioradze, M. (2007). Postcranial evidence from early Homo from Dmanisi, Georgia. Nature, 449, 305–310. doi: 10.1038/nature06134

  6. Lordkipanidze, D., Ponce de León, M., Margvelashvili, A., Rak, Y., Rightmire, G. P., & Zollikofer, C. (2013). A complete skull from Dmanisi, Georgia, and the evolutionary biology of early Homo. Science, 342, 326–331. doi: 10.1126/science.1238484 

  7. Lordkipanidze, D., Vekua, A., Ferring, R., Rightmire, G. P., Agustí, J., Kiladze, G., … Zollikofer, C. (2005). The earliest toothless hominin skull. Nature, 434, 717–718. doi: 10.1038/434717b

  8. Vekua, A., Lordkipanidze, D., Rightmire, G. P., Agustí, J., Ferring, R., Maisuradze, G., … Zollikofer, C. (2002). A new skull of early Homo from Dmanisi, Georgia. Science, 297, 85–89. doi: 10.1126/science.1072953

  9. Villmoare, B., Kimbel, W. H., Seyoum, C., Campisano, C. J., DiMaggio, E., Rowan, J., … Reed, K. E. 2015. Early Homo at 2.8 Ma from Ledi Geraru, Afar, Ethiopia. Science, 347, 1352–1355. doi: 10.1126/science.aaa1343 

Creative Commons License
Texts in the journal are –unless otherwise indicated– published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License