Richard Leakey found a normal human skull under a layer of rock dated at 212 million years
Richard Leakey found a normal human skull under a layer of rock dated at 212 million years.
- What Richard Leakey actually found was an early, primitive skull in a layer of rock that dates a little more recently than 2 million years. The physical characteristics and date of the skull are quite consistent with human evolution.
- The skull in question, KNM-ER 1470, is not that of a normal human. Among other things, the skull capacity (750cc) is far below that of an average modern human and the face is much more robust. Nearly all anthropologists agree that this skull is either a very early member of the homo genus (Homo rudolfensis) or a member of another hominin genus entirely (e.g., Australopithecus or Kenyanthropus).
- The original dating of the rock at over 200 Ma was false due to contamination of the sample with older volcanic rock. Subsequent dating methods converged on a range of dates between about 2.9 and 1.8 Ma, and in the early 80s, the discrepancy was finally resolved at 1.8 Ma.
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