Tag Archives: Hofmeyr skull

The Hofmeyr skull

For thoroughness sake I’m posting this piece on the Hofmeyr skull. Its the complete article, not just the abstract on the link.

Contrary to what I’ve seen in written a couple of sites, this isn’t a Caucasian skull. It’s got a mix of characteristics. Although Hofmeyr is similar in size to Eurasian UP crania, it differs from them in other respects (such as its broad nose and continuous supraorbital tori). that said, it does measure up closer to EUP crania than anything, as this twig diagram shows.

Late Pleistocene Human Skull from Hofmeyr, South Africa, and Modern Human Origins
F. E. Grine,1* R. M. Bailey,2 K. Harvati,3 R. P. Nathan,4 A. G. Morris,5 G. M. Henderson,6 I. Ribot,7 A. W. G. Pike8

The lack of Late Pleistocene human fossils from sub-Saharan Africa has limited paleontological testing of competing models of recent human evolution. We have dated a skull from Hofmeyr, South Africa, to 36.2 ± 3.3 thousand years ago through a combination of optically stimulated luminescence and uranium-series dating methods. The skull is morphologically modern overall but displays some archaic features. Its strongest morphometric affinities are with Upper Paleolithic (UP) Eurasians rather than recent, geographically proximate people. The Hofmeyr cranium is consistent with the hypothesis that UP Eurasians descended from a population that emigrated from sub- Saharan Africa in the Late Pleistocene.

I’m still having a think as to how this skull fits into the grand scheme of things. I’m going to take a look into sub Saharan DNA studies to see if there’s any indication of a migration from East Africa to South Africa at that time that could explain it’s presence.  From a little digging there may possibly have been a second movement out of Africa prior to 50k ago that might explain the similarities.


 I should comment on the totally ridiculous date for the OOA exit (65k to 25k ago) since Aborigines seem to have arrived in Australia about 60,000 years ago, and the Eurasian M mt DNA clade is about 65,000 years old, as well as the remains in Israel being about 95k old. Its A failing in a lot of articles I see. They don’t seem to compare the dates of recent finds before typing up propsed exit dates.