Is this the skull of our direct ancestor ? Image Credit: YouTube / The Cleveland Museum of Natural History
The remarkable discovery has reignited the debate over which hominim species gave rise to modern humans.
The well-preserved skull, which dates back 3.8 million years, was unearthed by Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and his team in Ethiopia.
It is the best example to date of Australopithecus anamensis
- the oldest known australopithecine.
Previous studies had suggested that Australopithecus anamensis
was the direct ancestor of a more advanced species known as Australopithecus afarensis
which in turn gave rise to the Homo
This latest discovery however has cast this idea in to doubt on the basis that anamensis
are now thought to have co-existed for at least 100,000 years.
This makes it difficult to know which of them ultimately gave rise to modern humans.
"For a long time, afarensis
was considered the best candidate as an ancestor to our kind, but we are not in that position any more," said Prof Haile-Selassie.
"Now we can look back at all the species that might have existed at the time and examine which one may have been most like the first human."
Source: BBC.com | Comments (6)