October 1st, 2009
Skeleton That Dates Back 3.4 Million Years Found in Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - An Ethiopian scientist has discovered the well-preserved 3.4 million-year-old partial skeleton of a child hominid, which experts say should provide valuable information in the study of human evolution.
Dr. Zeresenay Alemseged, a palaeoanthropologist, told reporters in Addis Ababa Saturday they had found a fragment of a lower jaw and an exceptionally well-preserved partial skeleton, including the skull, of a child early hominid.
They were discovered in the Busidina-Dikika sector of the Afar region, in an area bordering the Republic of Djibouti. Busidina-Dukika lies south of Hadar, where numerous fossils of Austrolopithecus Afarensis, including the famous Lucy, have been discovered.
“This is probably the earliest well-preserved young hominid so far known,” he said, adding that the discovery would help in filling a gap between the earliest known hominids and those from later periods.
“The new hominid is an important addition which may fill in the gap between Lucy, which is dated to 3.2 million years, and a similar hominid species from Laetoli, Tanzania, and dated at 3.7 million years,” he said.
Alemseged, a post-doctoral research associate at the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University, led a mission to prehistoric sites in Busidina and Dikika in 1999 and 2000.
source: The New York Times (