Researchers at the University of Cambridge have found that competition, not just climate change, determined the rise and fall of different hominin species over millions of years. This painting is an unusual one; In most vertebrates, competition limits the formation of new species after niches are filled.

The study, published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, analyzed hominin fossils and used advanced modeling to estimate species lifespans and periods of coexistence. This revealed a surprising trend in our genus Homo.

Competition in the Homo species that led to modern humans appears to have spurred the emergence of even more new species; This is the opposite of what is seen in other mammals. This unique pattern is very similar to isolated island ecosystems, where limited resources lead to rapid diversification.

The study’s authors also suggest that technology may have been a key factor in Homo’s unusual evolution. Our ancestors’ ability to adapt through tools, fire, and hunting strategies may have allowed them to create new territories and avoid extinctions caused by competition.

Source: Ferra

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