Skull KNM-ER 1470

ER 1470

KNM-ER 1470, Homo habilis (or Homo rudolfensis)

Discovered by Bernard Ngeneo in 1972 at Koobi Fora in Kenya (Leakey, 1973). Estimated age is 1.9 million years. This is the most complete habilis skull known. Its brain size is 750 cc, large for habilis. It was originally dated at nearly 3 million years old, a figure that caused much confusion as at the time it was older than any known australopithecines, from whom habilis had supposedly descended. A lively debate over the dating of 1470 ensued (Lewin, 1987; Johanson and Edey, 1981; Lubenow, 1992). The braincase is surprisingly modern in many respects, much less robust than any australopithecine skull, and also without the robustness and large brow ridges typical of Homo erectus. The face, in contrast, is extremely large and robust.

In the last few years, an increasing number of scientists have been classifying this skull as Homo rudolfensis. (If 1470 is related to the newly-discovered fossil WT 40000 (Kenyanthropus platyops) to which it has some claimed resemblances, it may eventually be reassigned to the genus Kenyanthropus.)

Creationists seem to be fairly evenly divided on whether 1470 is an ape or a human. Originally, Gish (1979) thought it human, then later (1985) decided it was an ape. Lubenow's (1992) opinion that it was a human seemed to be gaining ground in the early 1990's, but more recently other creationists such as Mehlert (1996) and Hartwig-Scherer have decided that it is just a large-brained ape.

Leakey R.E. (1973): Evidence for an advanced Plio-Pleistocene Hominid from East Rudolf, Kenya. Nature, 242:447-50.

Creationist arguments about 1470

Compare ER 1470 to ER 1813

This page is part of the Fossil Hominids FAQ at the Archive.

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