Saturday, April 15, 2006

Discovery Channel :: News :: Fossils Fill Human Evolution Gap

April 13, 2006— Four-million-year-old remains in Ethiopia have provided the first hard proof of a link between two key stages of human evolution by bridging the gap between prehuman species, paleontologists said Wednesday.

"For the first time, we found fossils that allow us to connect the first phase of human evolution and the second phase," Berhane Asfaw, anthropologist and co-research director of the project that found the remains, told a news conference Wednesday in Addis Ababa.

"The fossils represent unambiguous evidence for human evolution," he said.

The remains of eight individuals found in the northeastern Afar region of Ethiopia belonged to the species Australopithecus anamensis, part of the Australopithecus genus thought to be a direct ancestor to humans, according to a report in Nature.

"The fossils are anatomically intermediate between the earlier species Ardipithecus ramidus and the later species Australopithecus afarensis," he said.

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