Scientists from the University of California at Berkeley along with researchers from Ethiopia and several other countries have uncovered fossils of the earliest modern human, Homo sapiens, estimated at 154,000 to 160,000 years old. According to the scientists, the findings provide strong evidence that Homo sapiens and Neanderthals co-existed, rather than the former descending from the latter.
FOSSIL: Homo sapiens idaltu, BOU-VP-16/1
SITE & LOCATION: Upper Herto Member, Bouri peninsula, Middle Awash, Ethiopia
FOSSIL CREDIT: Housed in National Museum of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa
COPYRIGHT PROTECTION NOTICE: Photo © 2001 David L. Brill Brill Atlanta
In two articles appearing in the June 12 edition of the journal Nature, the authors describe the fossilized crania of two adults and a child uncovered at the Herto village in the Middle Awash study area of Ethiopia, about 140 miles northeast of its capital, Addis Ababa. The fossils fill a major gap in the human fossil record, the scientists report.
"Weve lacked intermediate fossils between pre-humans and modern humans, between 100,000 and 300,000 years ago," says UC Berkeley paleoanthropologist, Tim D. White, one of the project leaders. "Now the fossil record meshes with the molecular evidence."
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