Fossils offer new insight into human evolution
Scientists examining the fossilised bones of a foot found in Ethiopia in 2009 believe the remains indicate that the human ancestor from whom they came could walk upright at times. The specimens, which consist of eight elements from the forefoot – bones such as metatarsals and phalanges – are thought to be more than 3.4 million years old. Experts believe they demonstrate that there was more than one pre-human species living in East Africa between three and four million years ago. The evidence, published in the journal Nature, states that the finds are different to the remains of another human ancestor, (Australopithecus afarensis), whose remains were first identified in the 1970s. Named ‘Lucy’, the afarensis fossils showed that her body was built for walking; her big toe was aligned with the other four digits of the foot, and she had a human-like arch.
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