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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New Fossil discovery rivals Lucy


A new partial skeleton has been found in Ethiopia. It is said to be about 400,000 years older than Lucy (the famous fossil) which makes it approximately 3.6 million years old. Not only older, the skeleton is larger than Lucy (3.5 feet). He stands at more than 5 feet tall, clearly a large man, thus his name: "Kadanuumuu," which means "big man" in Afar. He is the same species as Lucy: Australopithecus afarensis.

This find sheds light on the movement of these early hominids. Lucy was believed to be a tree climber and she was not believed to be bipedal. But this discovery shows that it is likely that early hominids were bipedal. This skeleton has the most complete clavicle and shoulder blades ever found in the human fossil record.

Parts of the hip bone (pelvis)
Photo courtesy: Yohannes Haile-Selassie, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

These findings were published in today’s online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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