Face of the oldest direct human ancestor revealed

An old human ancestor who lived more than four million years ago was brought to life by scientists in astonishing recreation.

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It is the face of a species known as Australopithecus anamensis, an ancient species that is even older than the famous Lucy – a member of a related species known as A. afarensis.

The small skull was found almost completely intact in Ethiopia in 2016 and proves that the two species existed side by side for at least 100,000 years.

Researchers discovered the adult male skull in the river delta of a now extinct lake and the researchers discovered that the species had a small brain with a long, narrow skull.

However, it also reveals that the species has prominent cheekbones that make the face look like more recent people.

A. anamensis is the oldest known member of the genus Australopithecus. Our own gender, Homo, is generally believed to have evolved from this group.

MRD, the informal name given to the skull, is the next big & # 39; celebrated icon of human evolution & # 39; called.

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A. anamensis is the oldest known member of the genus Australopithecus. Our own gender, Homo, is generally believed to have evolved from this group. Depicted what the species looked like from an intact skull

A. anamensis is the oldest known member of the genus Australopithecus. Our own gender, Homo, is generally believed to have evolved from this group. Depicted what the species looked like from an intact skull

The Australopithecus anamensis species is even older than the famous Lucy - a member of a related species known as A. afarensis. The small skull was found almost completely intact in Ethiopia in 2016 and proves that the two species existed side by side for at least 100,000 years

The Australopithecus anamensis species is even older than the famous Lucy - a member of a related species known as A. afarensis. The small skull was found almost completely intact in Ethiopia in 2016 and proves that the two species existed side by side for at least 100,000 years

The Australopithecus anamensis species is even older than the famous Lucy – a member of a related species known as A. afarensis. The small skull was found almost completely intact in Ethiopia in 2016 and proves that the two species existed side by side for at least 100,000 years

The skull (photo) is described as one of the most important for a long period of time. Previously, only a handful of small skull fragments were found that were not sufficient to give a picture of the species

The skull (photo) is described as one of the most important for a long period of time. Previously, only a handful of small skull fragments were found that were not sufficient to give a picture of the species

The skull (photo) is described as one of the most important for a long period of time. Previously, only a handful of small skull fragments were found that were not sufficient to give a picture of the species

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Only a handful of small cranium fragments have been discovered before, making MRD a real breakthrough that allows researchers to visualize the humane and at the same time put a striking whole into the fossil record.

As co-author Dr. Stephanie Melillo of the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology: & # 39; It's good to finally face the name. & # 39;

Main author Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie, of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, added: & # 39; This is a game changer in our understanding of human evolution during the Pliocene. & # 39;

The first piece of MRD, the upper jaw, was found in February 2016 by local employee Ali Bereino at the Woranso-Mille fossil site in Ethiopia.

It was exposed to the surface and further investigation of the area resulted in the restoration of the rest of the skull.

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Fred Spoor of the Natural History Museum wrote in a News and Views article in nature with the original study: & # 39; The fossil is from an adult, probably a man, and was primarily identified as A. anamensis based on the characteristics of his jaw and canines.

& # 39; This skull appears to be another celebrated icon of human evolution. A full skull is not essential for a good understanding of the morphology of an extinct species. & # 39;

Researchers discovered the adult male skull in the river delta of a now extinct lake and the researchers discovered that the species had a small brain with a long, narrow skull

Researchers discovered the adult male skull in the river delta of a now extinct lake and the researchers discovered that the species had a small brain with a long, narrow skull

Researchers discovered the adult male skull in the river delta of a now extinct lake and the researchers discovered that the species had a small brain with a long, narrow skull

MRD, the informal name given to the skull, is the next big & # 39; celebrated icon of human evolution & # 39; and had prominent cheekbones, making the face look like more recent people

MRD, the informal name given to the skull, is the next big & # 39; celebrated icon of human evolution & # 39; and had prominent cheekbones, making the face look like more recent people

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MRD, the informal name given to the skull, is the next big & # 39; celebrated icon of human evolution & # 39; and had prominent cheekbones, making the face look like more recent people

Surface reconstructions (yellow) of fossils that represent the only previously known parts of the skull area of ​​this species are superimposed on the skull. These 4.2 million-year-old fossils from Kenya2 are an upper jaw bone and a lower jaw and ear bone. The protruding cheekbones (blue arrow) create an apparent facial similarity with a 2.5 million year old specimen of the human-like Paranthropus aethiopicus. Both the Kenyan and Ethiopian fossils of A. anamensis are characterized by, among other things, protruding jaws (red arrow) and a small ear hole (black arrow)

Surface reconstructions (yellow) of fossils that represent the only previously known parts of the skull area of ​​this species are superimposed on the skull. These 4.2 million-year-old fossils from Kenya2 are an upper jaw bone and a lower jaw and ear bone. The protruding cheekbones (blue arrow) create an apparent facial similarity with a 2.5 million year old specimen of the human-like Paranthropus aethiopicus. Both the Kenyan and Ethiopian fossils of A. anamensis are characterized by, among other things, protruding jaws (red arrow) and a small ear hole (black arrow)

Surface reconstructions (yellow) of fossils that represent the only previously known parts of the skull area of ​​this species are superimposed on the skull. These 4.2 million-year-old fossils from Kenya2 are an upper jaw bone and a lower jaw and ear bone. The protruding cheekbones (blue arrow) create an apparent facial similarity with a 2.5 million year old specimen of the human-like Paranthropus aethiopicus. Both the Kenyan and Ethiopian fossils of A. anamensis are characterized by, among other things, protruding jaws (red arrow) and a small ear hole (black arrow)

Males of the species grew up to about 5 ft long and weighed around 100 pounds, with the females probably smaller in shape at about 3 ft 5in long and weighing around 62 pounds

Males of the species grew up to about 5 ft long and weighed around 100 pounds, with the females probably smaller in shape at about 3 ft 5in long and weighing around 62 pounds

Males of the species grew up to about 5 ft long and weighed around 100 pounds, with the females probably smaller in shape at about 3 ft 5in long and weighing around 62 pounds

Fred Spoor of the Natural History Museum wrote in a News and Views article in nature with the original study: & # 39; The fossil is from an adult, probably a man, and was primarily identified as A. anamensis based on the characteristics of his jaw and canines
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Fred Spoor of the Natural History Museum wrote in a News and Views article in nature with the original study: & # 39; The fossil is from an adult, probably a man, and was primarily identified as A. anamensis based on the characteristics of his jaw and canines

Fred Spoor of the Natural History Museum wrote in a News and Views article in nature with the original study: & # 39; The fossil is from an adult, probably a man, and was primarily identified as A. anamensis based on the characteristics of his jaw and canines

WHAT WAS MRD?

MRD is the name of a monkey-like early human, or hominid, who was a member of a species known as Australopithecus anamensis.

MRD was the skull of an adult man and almost intact

It was identified by its jaw and dog-like teeth.

Males of the species became approximately 5 feet tall and weighed approximately 100 pounds.

It is thought that the skull was kept intact by sediment from the river delta while preserving the delicate remains.

Solidified pollen grains and chemical remains of plants and algae in the lake and delta dents provide clues about the old environmental conditions.

In particular, they indicate that the lake basin was largely dry, but there were also wooded areas on the banks of the delta or along the river that fed the delta and lake system.

Dr. Haile-Selassie said: & I could not believe my eyes when I saw the rest of the skull. It was a eureka moment and a dream come true. & # 39;

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& # 39; Until now we had a big gap between the earliest known human ancestors, who are about 6 million years old, and species such as & # 39; Lucy & # 39 ;, who are two to three million years old.

& # 39; One of the most exciting aspects of this discovery is how it bridges the morphological space between these two groups. & # 39;

Males of the species grew to about 5 ft long and weighed around 100 pounds, with the females probably smaller in size at around 3 ft 5 in length and weighing around 62 pounds.

Petrified pollen grains and chemicals in the lake sediment where the skull was found showed that the area used to be a large lake area.

It is thought that the skull was kept intact by sediment from the river delta while preserving the delicate remains.

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Co-author Professor Naomi Levin of the University of Michigan said: & MRD lived near a large lake in a dry region.

& # 39; We would like to do more work in these deposits to understand the environment of the MRD instance, the relationship to climate change and how it has affected human evolution. & # 39;

The first piece of MRD, the upper jaw, was found in February 2016 by local employee Ali Bereino at the Woranso-Mille fossil site in Ethiopia

The first piece of MRD, the upper jaw, was found in February 2016 by local employee Ali Bereino at the Woranso-Mille fossil site in Ethiopia

The first piece of MRD, the upper jaw, was found in February 2016 by local employee Ali Bereino at the Woranso-Mille fossil site in Ethiopia

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