Wikipedia and the scientific community
"Lucy" was probably not a direct ancestor of modern humans, but there is disagreement about this. However, the recent discovery of a new set of fossils in the region, dating from the same period, opens further the possibility that there was more than one species of hominin in the Afar region of Ethiopia, during the middle pliocene. (See article below).
Articles and papers:
A member of the Australopithecus afarensis left human-like footprints on volcanic ash in Laetoli, Kenya (Northern Tanzania), providing strong evidence of full-time bipedalism. Australopithecus afarensis lived between 3.9 and 2.9 million years ago, and is considered one of the earliest hominins---those species that developed and comprised the lineage of ‘’Homo’’ and ‘’Homo’s’’ closest relatives after the split from the line of the chimpanzees.
It is thought that A. afarensis was ancestral to both the genus Australopithecus and the genus Homo. Compared to the modern and extinct great apes, A. afarensis had reduced canines and molars, although they were still relatively larger than in modern humans. A. afarensis also has a relatively small brain size (380–430 cm³) and a prognathic (i.e. projecting anteriorly) face.
Australopithecines have been found in savannah environments; from scavenging opportunities, they probably developed their diet to include meat. Analyses of Australopithecus africanus lower vertebrae suggests that these bones changed in females to support bipedalism even during pregnancy.
New human ancestor species from Ethiopia lived alongside Lucy's species
A new relative joins "Lucy" on the human family tree. An international team of scientists, led by Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie of The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, has discovered a 3.3 to 3.5 million-year-old new human ancestor species. Upper and lower jaw fossils recovered from the Woranso-Mille area of the Afar region of Ethiopia have been assigned to the new species Australopithecus deyiremeda. This hominin lived alongside the famous "Lucy's" species, Australopithecus afarensis. The species will be described in the May 28, 2015 issue of the international scientific journal Nature.
|Website: F. Mansfield, 2015|
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