David Lordkipanidze’s research team has yielded a treasure of protohuman fossils, dated to 1.8 million years ago, from the site at Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia. The Dmanisi discoveries document the first expansion of hominins out of Africa and into Eurasia, and show that this was neither due to increased brain size, nor to improved technology. Dmanisi gives us an opportunity to study early hominins within a short span of time and see the variability of early Homo within one population. The Dmanisi sample, which now comprises five crania, provides direct evidence for wide variation within an early Homo population, moreover one outside Africa. The fossils are remarkably well-preserved, and the recently published Skull 5 represents the world’s most complete skull of early Homo. The study of this specimen yields new evidence on the evolutionary biology of early Homo and supports the idea of the existence of a single evolving lineage of early Homo. David Lordkipanidze, is the General Director of the National Museum of Georgia and has authored over 100 scientific articles published in journals such as Nature, Science Magazine, Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of USA, Journal of Human Evolution and more. He is regularly featured in the popular scientific magazines such as National Geographic magazine, GEO magazine, and Scientific American.
David Lordkipanidze is a Georgian anthropologist and archaeologist, Professor (2004), Dr.Sc. (2002), Corresponding Member of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences (2009), since 2004 General Director of the Georgian National Museum (GNM). He is a son of the archaeologist Otar Lordkipanidze.
David Lordkipanidze is best known for his discovery of the hominin fossil, first named Homo georgicus, but later reclassified as Homo erectus. Conducting excavation at Dmanisi in Georgia, he found skulls of an early hominin thought to be a precursor of Homo erectus. Subsequently, four fossil skeletons were found, showing a species still with primitive features in its skull and upper body but with relatively advanced spines and lower limbs, providing greater mobility. They represent a stage soon after the transition from Homo habilis to Homo erectus, and have been dated at 1.8 million years before the present.
Lordkipanidze has received many awards, including the Georgia's Order of Honour (2000), Award of the Prince of Monaco (2001), the French Order of "Palmes Academiques" (2002), the French Order of Honour (2006) and the Rolex Award for Enterprise (2004). He was appointed Director General of the Georgian National Museum (GNM) in 2004. In 2007 he became both a Foreign Member of the United States National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science (U.S.).
Archaeologist David Lordkipanidze argues that the Skull 5 from the excavation in Dmanisi shows that all early Homo species all belonged to the same species and that size difference is simply variation.