A new early human ancestor has been found in northern Ethiopia in close proximity to the area where the fossil remains of Lucy were discovered by Louis Leakey.
Termed Australopithecus deyiremeda, it is a novel find and this early hominid lived around about the same time as the famed Lucy. Lucy of course is the name given to Australopithecus afarensis.
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Thus the world is ready to embrace Lucy’s next door neighbor with open arms. Its mandibles and teeth have been unearthed and this species of sub-human life form lived at the exact time when Lucy was extant but it is totally different from Lucy.
This new find dates back to more than three million years ago. It was located a few dozen kilometers from the Hadar site where Lucy and her relatives were excavated by Louis Leakey and many other archaeologists a few decades ago.
It is a possibility that the age through which Lucy lived might have been coterminous with this visibly different hominid. But it is highly unlikely that the likes of Lucy would would have come face to face with Australopithecus deyiremeda.
This recent revelation shows that several hominids that were closely related to man may have inhabited this particular fertile region of Africa around the age of Lucy. There is even a third species labeled Kenyanthropus platyops which thrived in what is now modern-day Kenya. A critical inquiry is being held as to which of these species gave rise to Homo Sapiens in the end.
In the beginning when the research and digging uncovered the jawbone and teeth, it was not seen as cause for excitement. But when the evidence came in, and all the teams of excavators found that a new find had been made, their joy knew no bounds. The locus of influence around Hadar has been the venue of thousands of fossils belonging to early man.
At first Australopithecus deyiremeda was thought to belong to Lucy. But later on this mistake was rectified. That was when the full-blown impact of the find hit the scientists. They are now sure that this species is very different from any other hominid.
The fact that the new find is related to another mysterious species that was arboreal means that this could be the greatest adventure in finding out about the roots of humanity. And even though Lucy and Australopithecus deyiremeda may have lived in close proximity, they probably never fought each other over scarce resources such as food, shelter and water supply.