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article imageS.Africa officially announces new hominid species, A. sediba

By Christopher Szabo     Apr 8, 2010 in Science
Krugersdorp - The discovery of a new hominid species has been officially announced at the Cradle of Humankind site near Johannesburg by South African Vice President Kgalema Motlanthe.
Speaking on South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)’s channel 3, he said:
We will be able to add yet another fascinating layer in the answer to the question, ”Where do I come from.”
The full results are to be published in the journal Science. According to The Times the researchers felt it fills an important gap between older hominids and the species Homo, which includes modern humans.
The species, which looks like the earlier, ape-like human ancestors, is to be called Australopithecus sediba after the Sotho word for ”natural spring.”
The man whose son made the actual discovery, Professor Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg said:
These fossils give us an extraordinarily detailed look into a new chapter of human evolution and provide a window into a critical period when hominids made the committed change from dependency on life in the trees to life on the ground. Australopithecus sediba appears to present a mosaic of features demonstrating an animal comfortable in both worlds.
Berger said A. sediba's mosaic of features could become a sort of Rosetta stone that helps to unlock the secret of how the genus Homo evolved.
The find consists of an adult female and a juvenile, each about 1,27 metres (about four feet) tall. The female would have weighed some 33 kilograms (about 73 pounds) and the child 27 kilos.
The skeletons show long forearms and small, powerful hands, but with more human-like facial features than other Australopithicenes.
The pair might have died together, according to SABC 3. They lived between 1,78 and 1,95 million years ago.
More about South Africa, Human, Evolution, Sediba
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