posted on Sep, 21 2006 @ 11:15 AM
Its not the oldest known human ancestor.
The remains found in Africa are 3.3 million years old, making this the oldest known skeleton of such a youthful human
Its a three year old austalpithecus afarensis, the same genus and species as lucy, found in the same region, (cf 2 miles away), but it is cf 150,000
years older than Lucy.
Johansen, who discovered Lucy, remarked c.f 'Its nice to have lucy's daughter after all these years". Clearly this was tongue in cheek, but it
raises a neat suggestion of having two members of the same population (though seperated by a lot of time). Might be intersting if they can get any
biochemical information out of it, or, dare I think it, genetic information. Genes are of course unlikely, but many researchers have been able to
recover bone protein from dinosaur age specimins, so perhaps they can get something like that from this and lucy and compare them.
Here is a graphic for the timeline of human evolution:
The new discover is the larger of the pinkish squares. It is intermediate in its features between chimps and humans, that is, it has some
characteristics that are chimp like, others that are human like, and others that are a little of both. Australpithecus is thought, for example, to
have walked upright, but also to have spent time in the trees. It has a small brain, like a chimp, but some of its teeth are human like, etc.
, from the talk.origins fossil hominid faq.