The recent unearthing works have helped scientists find new prehistoric species of humans in Ethiopia. The evidence is now contradicting all the previous beliefs and suppositions that have been made in relation to the first hominin groups to have populated the planet.
Previous anthropological discoveries have proven that the first human species to exist millions of years ago was Australopithecus afarensis, more commonly known as Lucy. This hypothesis was rightfully made after scientists discovered large parts from the body of a female hominin.
The latest discoveries, however, suggest that there might have been another species of human co-existing around the same time with Lucy. The conclusion was reached after carefully analyzing the upper and lower jaw fossils found four years ago on a site in the Afar region of Ethiopia.
Australopithecus deyiremeda was the name that was assigned to the newly-found human species as scientists believe the two prehistoric individuals stem from the same branch of hominin, but they also have particular traits. The two species lived more or less in the same period because the tests that were performed on the upper and lower jaw fossils helped scientists estimate that the Lucy’s neighbor would have been 3.3 million to 3.5 million years old.
Haile-Selassie and the rest of the anthropology experts working on the Ethiopian site have subjected the fossil to numerous tests. They have mainly used radiocarbon dating and geological analyses of the soil. By comparing Lucy’s fossils with the newly unearthed bone structure, experts spotted a significant difference between the two. More specifically, the teeth and jaws of the two species have different structures.
Anthropologists believe these differences have occurred because the two hominin had different eating habits. The two most likely ate different types of foods that required different chewing techniques, was the explanation that Selassie provided. This also confirms that the newly found jaw fossil did not belong to a Lucy-like prehistoric being.
In addition to the jaw bone that was found in Ethiopia, scientists have also dug out a foot bone in the nearby areas. The osseous structure has not yet been identified as belonging to deyiremeda, but what it is known for sure, is that it does not belong to the Lucy species.
In spite of the strong evidence that experts have provided in support of their new hypothesis, there are still scientists, who remain skeptical to the idea of a newly found human species. They claim that the difference between the two jaw structures are just “anatomical variation within a biological species” and that this phenomenon is quite common.
Researchers, who support the new hypothesis are, nevertheless, trustful. They will in fact continue their studies as they hope to find out how the two human species got along with each other, whether they were aggressive or friendly to one another.
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