PhysOrg.Com is reporting on the discovery of a new, and important, hominoid. The new hominoid has been named Anoiapithecus brevirostris:
The new genus and species, Anoiapithecus brevirostris, has been described on the basis of a partial cranium that preserves most of the face and the associated mandible. This cranium was recovered during the works of paleontological control that are customarily carried out at ACM, due to the fossiliferous richness of the area of els Hostalets de Pierola. The process of preparation was long-lasting and complicated, due to the fragility of the remains, but once the material were available for analysis, the surprise was enormous. The specimen (IPS43000) combined a set of features that until now had never been found from the fossil record.
On the one hand, Anoiapithecus displays a very modern facial morphology, with a muzzle prognathism so reduced that, within the family Hominidae, we can only find comparable values within the genus Homo, whereas the remaining great apes are notoriously more prognathic. This extraordinary fact does not indicate that Anoiapithecus has any relationship with Homo, but it might be a case of convergence. Probably, the evolutionary meaning of this finding is a different one, but not for this reason it is less interesting.
The second surprise provided by Lluc is that it enabled to solve two key questions regarding the origin of our family: what group it is derived from, and which is the geographic area where the family Hominidae originated.
The find is being published in PNAS and requires subscription – if anybody has access I would appreciate it if you could send a copy.