Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Evidence Shows Skull Is of Earliest Hominid

The reconstruction corrects distortions in Toumaï's fossilised skull and his hairlip

Experts are a step closer to answering whether an ancient skull from Africa belonged to a possible human ancestor or was closer to apes, Nature reports.
Fresh fossil finds from Chad in central Africa, as well as a new analysis of the skull, seem to confirm "Toumaï" was closer to us, say researchers.

The Toumaï skull was unearthed in Chad in 2002 to international acclaim.

But rival researchers attacked claims by the discoverers that it was the oldest hominid, or human-like creature.

The near-complete skull, pieces of jawbone and several teeth unveiled in 2002 were discovered in the desert of northern Chad by a team led by Michel Brunet, of the University of Poitiers, France.

At six to seven million years old, Sahelanthropus tchadensis (better known by its nickname Toumaï) dates to about the time where, according to genetic data, the ancestors of humans and the ancestors of chimpanzees went their separate evolutionary ways.

Story here.

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