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The Face of the Earliest Human Ancestor, Revealed

The Face of the Earliest Human Ancestor, Revealed

Nearly 25 years after scientists described the first fossil traces of Australopithecus anamensis, this unsung human ancestor is finally having its moment. Researchers working in Ethiopia have found a nearly complete cranium of this long-vanished member of the hominin group, which includes Homo sapiens and its close extinct relatives. The fossil, dated to 3.8 million years ago, reveals the never before seen face of A. anamensis, a species previously known mainly from jaws, teeth and a smattering of bones from below the head. Traits evident in the specimen hint that our family tree may need revising.