Early hominid 'cared for elderly'

Mr. Anderson

Moderator emeritus
Nov 1, 2001
Considering that they were a precursor to modern humans and "little people", they may not even be a distant ancestor of Homo Sapiens, but rather an off shoot that became extinct.

The fact that they cared for their elderly says quite a lot - especially if its been a trait of human evolution for millions of years....


Lord Blackadder

macrumors G5
May 7, 2004
Sod off
This has been a big year for paleoanthropology.

H.Erectus had long been thought of as the only hominid that really spread geographically before modern H. Sapiens. Recent finds (H. Floresiensis) how how much there is yet to be learned.

AFAIK, the Dmanisi hominids have been declared a variant of H. Erectus, but that may change and they may be speciated from H. Erectus, especially if more individuals emerge to flesh out statistical data. They seem different enough phenotypically. It is very possible that they are a derivitive form of an eralier species as the article suggests.

This is a big find regarding the care of post-reproductive/nonproductive indivduals, which is well documented in even the earliest H. Sapiens finds (such as the Shanidar site), but pretty much unknown outside our own species. I think that it was much more widespread than current evidence suggests, but this sort of thing is very hard to determine from the fossil record alone. The only way to do so is to find (as they did here) very old individuals whos poor health made them unable to care for themselves, but who obviously lived for some time in such a state.


macrumors 68000
Apr 7, 2003
It's fascinating to think that compassion predates homo sapiens. Of course, I can't help but wonder what the creationists make of this....
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.