Review Article | Published:

The evolutionary context of the first hominins

Nature volume 470, pages 347352 (17 February 2011) | Download Citation

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Abstract

The relationships among the living apes and modern humans have effectively been resolved, but it is much more difficult to locate fossil apes on the tree of life because shared skeletal morphology does not always mean shared recent evolutionary history. Sorting fossil taxa into those that belong on the branch of the tree of life that leads to modern humans from those that belong on other closely related branches is a considerable challenge.

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Acknowledgements

Support was provided by the GW Vice-President for Academic Affairs and to the GW Selective Excellence Program (to Provost and B.W.) and the NSF (BCS-0309513) (to T.H.). We thank R. Bernstein, J. DeSilva, T. Kivell, D. Pilbeam and B. Richmond for their critical comments and suggestions.

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Affiliations

  1. CASHP, The George Washington University, 2110 G Street, NW Washington, District of Columbia 20052, USA

    • Bernard Wood
  2. Center for the Study of Human Origins, Department of Anthropology, New York University, 25 Waverly Place, New York, New York 10003, USA

    • Terry Harrison

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Contributions

The authors contributed equally to the research and writing.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Bernard Wood.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nature09709

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