Consequential fossil find from Ethiopia

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September 02, 2019

In a paper published in the journal Nature this week, Yohannes Haile Selassie et al. attribute a fossil cranium found in Ethiopia in 2016 to the species Australopithecus anamensis and discourse on its relationship to fossils of the same species found earlier, as well as its relationship to A. afarensis, until now thought to be an evolutionary descendant of A. anamensis. The two species overlap by at least 100,000 years, it is postulated in this paper.

The types specimen of A. anamensis was discovered in Kenya in 1994  by Meave Leakey.  Her find comprise Post crania, including a diagnostic tibia, possessing  a broad tibial platform indicating this species was an obligate biped, meaning it was committed to an upright posture and bipedal locomotion.

The assignment of this cranium to A. anamensis was based on the right upper canine, maxilla and temporal bone. The authors call this cranium "M RD” for shorthand purposes.

Read this thoroiughly detailed paper, titled “A 3.8-million-year-old hominin cranium from Woranso-Mille, Ethiopia” in Nature.