With the discovery of each new skull fragment, femur, and stone tool, however, archaeologists are methodically piecing together the fractured history of our species and other hominins closely related to us.
Putting a face on a pivotal ancient species
A nearly intact skull found three years ago in Ethiopia provided a much-needed glimpse into the facial characteristics of Australopithecus anamensis – an early hominin linked to human evolution.
Analysis of the skull by palaeoanthropologist Yohannes Haile-Selassie from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in the US and his colleagues revealed a mix of old and modern features, including a long, robust, and protruding face, small teeth, and a large cranium compared to similar species.
We still don’t know which Australopithecine spawned humanity, but A. afarensis appears to be the best candidate.
The earliest fossil evidence of modern humans in Africa