Ancient jawbones put new species on the human family tree, researchers say

CNN, By Laura Smith-Spark, May 28

Meet Australopithecus deyiremeda, a newly discovered species of hominin that sheds light on our earliest ancestors, scientists say.

In a study published in the journal Nature, the researchers say their discovery in Ethiopia of teeth and jawbones dating back between 3.3 million and 3.5 million years supports the idea that several hominin species coexisted during this period.

The remains show clear similarities to “Lucy,” the famous 3.2 million-year-old remains of the species Australopithecus afarensis, found in 1974.

But, the researchers say, there are sufficient differences in the jaw architecture and size and shape of the teeth to mean that this is a new species, indicating that our ancestry is more complicated than previously thought.

Also, The Onion: 2.8-Million-Year-Old Cycle Of Human Cruelty Continues Unabated On Elementary School Playground

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  • ‘Missing link’ in shark evolution found in 380m-year-old Australian fossil

    Fossilised skeleton found in Kimberley shows sharks once had bone cells within cartilage, suggesting a sophisticated evolutionary path.

    The Guardian, By Oliver Milman, May 28

    A 380m-year-old fossil found in Western Australia has been hailed as the “missing link” in shark evolution, revealing the marine predator has a far more sophisticated lineage than previously thought.

    The fossilised skeleton, jaws and teeth, found at the Gogo formation in the Kimberley region of WA, shows the ancient shark had a small amount of bone as well as cartilage.

    As modern-day sharks have fully cartilage skeletons, the fossil suggests they evolved from an earlier, bonier fish, transforming to a cartilage skeleton to make them lighter, more nimble and quicker through the water.

    It was previously thought that sharks came from a primitive lineage that didn’t ever develop bone, unlike other fish.

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