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Press Release 10-105

Researchers Discover Relative of Best-Known Human Ancestor

Famed hominid "Lucy" no longer alone

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Photo a small fragment of the lower arm bone of A. afarensis.

Researchers recovered only the second partial skeleton of science's best-known early human ancestor, Australopithecus afarensis. It's 400,000 years older than the famed hominid "Lucy," which is the same species, and it's male. Here, a small fragment of the specimen's lower arm bone is shown.

Credit: Yohannes Haile-Selassie, Cleveland Museum of Natural History


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Yohannes Haile-Selassie, Curator and Head of Physical Anthropology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, discusses the discovery and significance of "Kadanuumuu."

Credit: Cleveland Museum of Natural History

 

Photo of Yohannes Haile-Selassie excavating an A. afarensis rib from the Korsi Dora locality.

Excavations between 2005 and 2008 in the Korsi Dora locality of the Woranso-Mille Project in Ethiopia uncovered an upper arm, a collarbone, neck bones, ribs, pelvis, sacrum, a thighbone, a shinbone and an adult shoulder blade. Excavations took more than five years to complete.

Credit: Woranso-Mille Project


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Photo showing the reconstructed skeleton of the Australopithecus afarensis Lucy.

The Australopithecus afarensis Lucy, whose partial skeleton is seen here, is thought to be ancestral to the genus Australopithecus and the genus Homo that includes modern humans.

Credit: Cleveland Museum of Natural History


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University of California, Berkley paleontologist Tim White discusses the importance of "Lucy" in a NSF special report titled Evolution of Evolution - 150 Years of Darwin's "On the Origin of Species." His is one of three interviews in the report discussing anthropologic evolution.

Credit: National Science Foundation