According to a new study, a new found fossil that is even better than the well know “Lucy” fossil has been unearthed in Ethiopia. And it wasn’t alone.
Four years ago, in Ethiopia’s northern region of Afar, a lower jaw, some jaw fragments, and some teeth were found. Analysis revealed them to be between 3.3 and 3.5 million years old.
According to researchers, this discovery could mean that there was another species that lived during the same timeframe and in the same area as Lucy’s.
That said, there are those that contest that idea. Last Wednesday, the Nature journal published a paper that dubbed the new species as Australopithecus deyiremeda. The name is a homage to its relationship with later evolutionary tree members and means “close relative” in Afar.
However, leader of the discovery team Yohannes Haile-Selassie of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History says that no one knows how it relates to our own branch of the tree.
Another discovery in 2009 involved fossilized foot bones near the new site, possibly indicating another species. The fossils haven’t been assigned a species yet, but whether they belong to the newly identified species nor not is still up in the air. According to Haile-Selassie, they might get assigned to the Australopithecus afarensis or get assigned to a new species altogether.