New Fossils!

Last Friday’s edition of NPR’s Science Friday concerned the discovery of new fossil hominids. They date to about 4 million years ago (based on faunal assemblage – results of radiometric dating are pending) and are the oldest example of bipedal hominids yet know. A total of 12 specimens was found.

Portions recovered thus far include a complete tibia, parts of a femur, ribs, vertebrae, clavicle, pelvis, and a complete scapula of an adult whose sex and stature are yet to be determined, although it is already clear that the individual was larger than Lucy. In addition to this discovery, skeletal parts of other individuals were found in different localities in the area. These discoveries include isolated teeth, and elements from below the neck (arm bones, leg bones, phalanges).

The fossils were found approximately 37-40 miles from Hadar (where “Lucy” and other specimens of A. afarensis were found). The finds have not been identified as to species yet – apparently they were discovered around the 2nd week of February. The discoveries were made by a team lead by Yohannes Haile-Selassie and Bruce Latimer of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Go to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History or to the Discovery Channel or to the New Scientist for further details.

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