A team of paleontologists is claiming that new fossils found in Kenya prove that two more species of humanoids existed millions of years ago, the CBC reports. Meave and Louise Leakey discovered new bones between 2007 and 2009 in Kenya, and argue in a newly released Nature paper that the bones prove the existence of two more pre-human species distinct from our ancestor, the Homo erectus.
The Leakeys believe the new finds confirm speculation from 1972 that Homo erectus had more hominid company.
“Anyway you cut it, there are three species,” said co-author Susan Anton, a New York University anthropologist. “One of them is named erectus, and that, ultimately, in our opinion is going to lead to us.”
She speculates that the other species died off more than a million years ago. ”Human evolution is clearly not the straight line that it once was,” Spoor said. East Africa “was quite a crowded place” a few million years ago.
Some skeptics are not quite convinced. They await more bones to settle the debate.