The rare discovery of a jawbone by research team has led to a reinterpretation of human evolution as we know it.
An ASU team of scientists found a partially intact jaw that lends credence to the presence of a very early version of the homonid species Homo in Ethiopia, Africa. The mandible portion was found by the team two years ago and it consists of five teeth on the left side. Via carbon dating it was found that the fossil is 2.8 million years old.
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Yet the Homo series of hominids are predated by 400,000 years in case of this sample of an early man. This is the first time that the finding is being aired in a magazine titled Science by the team of researchers.
For generations, scientists have been searching for the missing links that connect hominids to their animal origins. Fossils that are more than 3 million years old have been unearthed too. The most familiar is that of Lucy in Africa that got excavated about 40 years ago.
Lucy and her kind of hominids were bipeds that had minuscule brains and simian features. The missing links in the interregnum that separated the earlier finds and later samples were the real mystery though. But now it seems that mystery will be solved and several questions will get answered.
The 700,000 year aporia will be filled thanks to this finding and many more like it that will hopefully be made in the future. The blurred and hazy image of that hiatus in prehistoric time will gain crystal clarity thanks to this discovery.
The whole project got off the ground approximately a dozen years ago. And by the time this ancient jawbone was found, the team was very much in awe of the finding. They couldn’t wait to show it to the world. They had started off with low expectations but now their hopes had been kindled. It was found among the sedimentation on the side of a knoll.
The clues gathered so far point to a distant ancestor of Homo habilis. It is a very vital link in the period of rapid change that took place somewhere on the evolutionary scale. The discovery has shown humanity a brief glimpse into its past animal roots.
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And with this the whole picture of human evolution from its rudimentary beginnings to its current mastery of the planet has undergone some much-needed revision. This is so because the turning point has been marked in prehistory when mankind truly reached a coming of age as regards its survival strategies.