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African Jawbone Discovery Pushes Birth of Humanity Back by 400,000 Years

STEVE CONNOR |   in  ·
March 6, 2015

A fossilised jawbone found poking out of the ground in Ethiopia has set the story of human origins back nearly half a million years to a time when early man shared the vast grassland plains of eastern Africa with a rich variety of prehistoric animals.

Scientists have confirmed that the jawbone belongs to the Homo genus and, at 1.8 million years old, is more than 400,000 years older than the oldest previous fossil of the same group of early humans who eventually gave rise to our own species, Homo sapiens.

The discovery begins to fill in a huge gap in human origins between the primitive “ape man” of Australopithecus afarensis – best known from the Lucy fossil discovered in Ethiopia in 1974 – and the earliest known members of the “human” family, the species Homo habilis or “handy man”…


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