Most Complete Skeleton of Ancient Relative of Man Found
The remains of a juvenile hominid skeleton, of the newly identified Australopithecus (southern ape) sediba species, are the “most complete early human ancestor skeleton ever discovered,” according to Lee Berger, a paleontologist from the University of Witwatersrand.
“We have discovered parts of a jaw and critical aspects of the body including what appear to be a complete femur (thigh bone), ribs, vertebrae and other important limb elements, some never before seen in such completeness in the human fossil record,” said Prof Berger.
The latest discovery was made in a one-metre-wide rock that lay unnoticed for years in a laboratory until a technician incidentally saw a tooth sticking out of the black stone last month.
It was then scanned to reveal significant parts of A. sediba, whose other parts were discovered in 2009 in the world-famous Cradle of Humankind north of Johannesburg.
It is not certain whether the species, which had long arms, a small brain and a thumb, was a direct ancestor of humans’ genus, Homo, or simply a close relative.