- Title: In watershed discovery, skull of ancient human ancestor unearthed
- Date: 29th August 2019
- Summary: ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (AUGUST 28, 2019) (REUTERS) VIEW OF PRESS CONFERENCE VARIOUS OF PALEOANTHROPOLOGIST YOHANNES HAILE-SELASSIE AND COLLEAGUES ON STAGE ARTIST RENDITION OF THE FOSSIL DUBBED MRD (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) PALEOANTHROPOLOGIST, CLEVELAND MUSEUM, DR. YOHANNES HAILE-SELASSIE, SAYING: ''This is the first specimen that gives us some idea terms of what the face of species known as Australopithecus amanuensis looked like about 3.8 million years ago. Because previously we had no idea because we only know about the species based on isolated teeth and some jaw fragments and we never had a chance to actually reconstruct the face and have a look at what it looks like.'' MRD FOSSIL NEXT TO ITS 3D CAST 3D CAST OF THE FOSSIL MRD FOSSIL (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) PALEOANTHROPOLOGIST, CLEVELAND MUSEUM, DR. YOHANNES HAILE-SELASSIE, SAYING: ''The discovery the specimen 3.8 million years ago and the presence of Australopithecus afarensis at 3.9 million years ago clearly shows that those two, the ancestor and the descendant overlapped for at least 100,000 years.'' VARIOUS OF AUDIENCE LISTENING
- Embargoed: 12th September 2019 11:46
- Keywords: Australopithecus afarensis Humanlike characteristics Species Lucy Cranial remains
- Location: ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA
- City: ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA
- Country: Ethiopia
- Topics: Life Sciences,Science
- Reuters ID: LVA001AU9U4PJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Scientists on Wednesday (August 28), announced the landmark discovery in Ethiopia of a nearly complete skull of an early human ancestor that lived 3.8 million years ago, a species boasting an intriguing mixture of apelike and humanlike characteristics.
The fossil dubbed MRD, which provides insight into a pivotal period for the evolutionary lineage that eventually led to modern humans, belongs to the species Australopithecus anamensis, which first appeared roughly 4.2 million years ago.
This species is considered the direct ancestor of Australopithecus afarensis, the species best known from the famous partial skeleton nicknamed Lucy unearthed in 1974 about 35 miles (56 km) from of the site in the Afar region of Ethiopia where the MRD skull was found in 2016. Lucy dates from about 3.2 million years ago.
MRD and Lucy together stand as watershed fossils for illuminating early human ancestors.
Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie is a paleoanthropologist at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and a leader of the research published in the journal Nature.
''This is the first specimen that gives us some idea terms of what the face of species known as Australopithecus anamensis looked like about 3.8 million years ago. Because previously we had no idea because we only know about the species based on isolated teeth and some jaw fragments and we never had a chance to actually reconstruct the face and have a look at what it looks like,' he said.'
Until now, the only Australopithecus anamensis cranial remains were isolated jaw fragments and teeth, making it difficult to fully understand the species.
The skull is critical for learning about a species' diet, brain size and facial appearance.
Until now, the earliest Australopithecus anamensis fossils were 3.9 million years old.
The MRD fossil's age indicates this species co-existed for approximately 100,000 years with Lucy's species, challenging previous notions that the earlier species had evolved into the later one with no overlap.
(Kumerra Gemechu, Angela Ukomadu)
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