Archaeologists in Ethiopia discovered the skull of an ancestor of the famous Lucy, which has revealed a little more about the history of humanity.
Take a good look at this skull: it could well change the course of history. Discovered in 2016 in Ethiopia, it has been the subject of intensive study. Australopithecus anamensis - as it is called - has one particularity: it is remarkably complete.
According to archaeologists, this specimen is 3.8 million years old, placing it higher than Lucy (3.2 million years) in Man’s family tree. ‘In my opinion, this is the specimen we were all waiting for,’ says Carol Ward, a paleontologist at the University of Missouri-Colombia who did not take part in the research that followed the discovery.
Indeed, this new specimen is the missing link between A. anamensis and A. afarensis, and therefore Lucy. It also provides a better understanding of how the skull evolved to take on the features we know today. ‘3.8 million years ago, our ancestors looked more like primates than humans,’ says Yohannes Haile-Selassie, the main author of the study.
The missing link
Following several years of analysis, scientists can now tell us a little more about this incredible specimen. This male probably had a plant-based diet, and he would have lived among some of the carnivorous species that are related to today's hyenas, but also giraffes, antelopes and other equine species.
There is no doubt that A. anamensis still has many secrets to reveal to us, both about his way of life and his role in our family tree.