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10 Extinct Hominids

        Science | Paleontology

5
Homo Georgicus
Evidence exists that this species existed within a caring social structure. James St. John/Used under Creative Commons CC BY 2.0 License/Flickr
Evidence exists that this species existed within a caring social structure. James St. John/Used under Creative Commons CC BY 2.0 License/Flickr

Because many of the fossils we unearth are incomplete and tell only a partial story, categorizing them into distinct species becomes fuzzy and controversial. Such is the case with Homo georgicus, which may not be its own species, but rather a member of Homo erectus. Regardless, the trove of this hominid's fossils found in Dmanisi, Georgia, is fascinating.

Archaeologists unearthed several skulls and jaws in addition to fragments of limbs, hands and feet. These fossils date to 1.8 million years ago and represent the earliest known hominid to have lived outside of Africa. Although proportionally georgicus was similar to modern humans in body structure, this species had a relatively small brain and stood shorter at just under 5 feet tall (1.5 meters).

Amazingly, one of the skulls shows evidence that the individual survived for a while after having lost all of his or her teeth. In a more primitive culture, this would have been impossible. But this is evidence that a supportive societal structure existed and helped take care of this individual [source: Roberts].