New fossils recast a flat-faced oddity as a star species in the first chapter of the human story—perhaps even as our oldest known truly human ancestor.
At the least, the fossils confirm that at least three different human species inhabited the same Kenyan neighborhood at the dawn of humanity, according to a new study led by paleontologists Meave and Louise Leakey.
The new fossils—prize finds of a painstaking 40-year search—flesh out a human species previously dubbed Homo rudolfensis but which has, for now, had its name revoked.
Consisting of a face from a young adult, a complete lower jaw, and part of a second jaw, the new fossils were found east of Kenya’s Lake Turkana between 2007 and 2009.
Dated to between 1.78 and 1.95 million years ago, the remains were all uncovered within six miles (ten kilometers) of a mysterious Homo skull discovered by the Leakeys and their Koobi Fora Research Project team in 1972. Read more.
BOZEMAN, Mont. — Anthropology students are showing off a million-year-old discovery after ancient artifacts from Kenya turn up in an MSU basement.
The hand axes were made by early human ancestors and are examples of some of the oldest tool types.
They used to belong to famous paleoanthropologist Louis S.B. Leakey who, according to adjunct professor of anthropology Nancy Mahoney, “changed the way we understand human origins.”
Leakey sent the artifacts to Montana back in the fifties for special stone dating.
Two anthropology students researched how the stone tools came to the department’s teaching collection as part of an independent research course.
“She was giving the lecture when she passed around the stone tool and I was shaking when I held it because I couldn’t imagine. This was created over a million years ago and the person who made it and intended to use it looked completely different than I did and thought completely differently and it just fascinated me,” says anthropology student Betsy Garten. Read more.