If I had to pick the hottest topic in paleoanthropology right now, I’d say it’s the origin and early evolution of our genus, Homo. Researchers know quite a bit about our australopithecine predecessors (Lucy and her ilk) and about later phases of Homo’s evolution. But the dawn of our lineage is cloaked in mystery.
One question experts have long puzzled over is whether Homo split into multiple lineages early on, or whether the known early Homo fossils all belong to a single lineage. To that end, new discoveries made at the site of Koobi Fora in northern Kenya—one of the Leakey’s longtime fossil hunting grounds—are said to settle that matter in favor of multiple lineages. But some critics disagree.