Images discovered in South Africa 10 years ago are a long-sought mysterious missing link in our knowledge of human evolution, scientists concluded in a new study
Partly fossilized 2 million annual bones of elderly women and a young man were discovered 2008 in a cave in Malapa, near Johannesburg.
The researchers found that the species Australopithecus sediba is closely related to the Homo genus and fills a key gap in the chain of human evolution between the early humans and our closest ancestors. Researchers believe fossils are distinctive but similar to species on the same timeline. 3-million finds in Africa called Lucy) and the remains of Homo habilis, who used tools 1
All three species have spent considerable time climbing trees, perhaps for food and protection from predators, according to a study in the PaleoAntropropology journal, Australopithecus sediba's hands have gripping capabilities more advanced than those of Homo habilis, which suggests that the species may have used tools as well. 19659002] "This larger picture casts light on the viable roads of Au. sediba and also a major transition in the evolution of the hominin, "writes lead researcher Scott Williams of New York University
The discovery was the subject of controversial debate. Some scientists believe that they are not a new species, while others believe they were two new species.
The remains of Australopithecus sediba were discovered by a 9-year-old boy who stopped looking at a rock he stumbled as he walked with his dog.
"Imagine for a moment that Matthew stumbled on the rock and continued to follow his dog without noticing the fossil record," the researchers wrote in his study. "If these events happened instead, science would not know about Au. sediba but these fossils would still be there, still wrapped in calcified classical sediments, which are still waiting to be discovered. "