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SKELETON FOUND FROM ALMOST 2 MILLION YEARS AGO

The skeleton of an as-of-yet unknown hominid species. (Related to but, not quite, Human)

This skeleton found in South Africa is believed to be the most complete of an ancient ancestor of present-day humans and is almost 2 MILLION years old!

The scientists and researchers leading the investigation at the University of Witwatersrand in Southern Africa haven’t been able to decide whether it’s a direct ancestor of us modern humans or a close relative. But, with this new find of additional bones that belong to the same skeleton, they hope to narrow it down and see how far we’ve really come.

Discovery News writes:

South African scientists said Thursday they had uncovered the most complete skeleton yet of an ancient relative of man, hidden in a rock excavated from an archaeological site three years ago.

The remains of a juvenile hominid skeleton, of the Australopithecus (southern ape) sediba species, constitute the “most complete early human ancestor skeleton ever discovered,” according to University of Witwatersrand palaeontologist Lee Berger.

“We have discovered parts of a jaw and critical aspects of the body including what appear to be a complete femur (thigh bone), ribs, vertebrae and other important limb elements, some never before seen in such completeness in the human fossil record,” said Berger, a lead professor in the finding.

The latest discovery of what is thought to be around two million years old, was made in a three-foot (one meter) wide rock that lay unnoticed for years in a laboratory until a technician noticed a tooth sticking out of the black stone last month.

The technician, Justin Mukanka, said: “I was lifting the block up, I just realized that there is a tooth.”

It was then scanned to reveal significant parts of an A. sediba skeleton, dubbed Karabo, whose other other parts were first discovered in 2009. Parts of three other skeletons were discovered in 2008 in the world-famous Cradle of Humankind site north of Johannesburg.

Read more at news.discovery.com/history

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