NEW YORK – A fragment of jawbone found in Ethiopia is the oldest known fossil from an evolutionary tree branch that eventually led to modern humans, scientist reported Wednesday.
The fossil comes from very close to the time that our branch split away from more ape-like ancestors best known for the fossil skeleton Lucy. So it gives a rare glimpse of what very early members of our branch looked like.
At about 2.8 million years old, the partial jawbone pushes back the fossil record by at least 400,000 years for our branch, which scientists call Homo.
Our species, called Homo sapiens, is the only surviving member of this group.
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