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Article Released Wed-20th-September-2006 17:13 GMT
Contact: Ruth Institution: Nature Publishing Group
 Human evolution: 'Lucy's baby' found in remote Ethiopian outpost

Palaeontologists have made a stunning find in the Ethiopian desert — the fossil remains of a child from the primitive human species Australopithecus afarensis, of which the iconic fossil Lucy is a member. The skeleton, represents the first juvenile remains from this chapter of human evolution, making it the oldest child ever discovered.

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VOL.443 NO.7109 DATED 21 SEPTEMBER 2006

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Human evolution: 'Lucy's baby' found in remote Ethiopian outpost (pp; 296-301 &332-336; N&V)

Palaeontologists have made a stunning find in the Ethiopian desert — the fossil remains of a child from the primitive human species Australopithecus afarensis, of which the iconic fossil Lucy is a member. The skeleton, unveiled in this week's Nature, represents the first juvenile remains from this chapter of human evolution, making it the oldest child ever discovered.

The 3.3-million-year-old fossil, found at a research dig in Dikika, Ethiopia, was probably female and no more than 3 years old when she died. The skeleton's features support the theory that A. afarensis walked upright, but the surprisingly gorilla-like arms suggest that it might also have been skilled at swinging through the trees, report palaeontologists led by Zeresenay Alemseged.

The discovery was made in a region that already has a rich history of human fossil finds. Geological mapping, reported in an accompanying paper by Jonathan Wynn and colleagues, provides the first comprehensive physical map of the area, called the Hadar Formation, placing the discovery into its geological context.

CONTACT

Zeresenay Alemseged (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany)

From 16-24 September at National Museum of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Tel: +251 911 86 23 86, or +251 911 44 81 83;

Email: zeray@eva.mpg.de or: zerayat@yahoo.com

After 24, September

Tel: +49 341 35 50 353; E-mail: zeray@eva.mpg.de



Jonathan Wynn (University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA)

Tel: +1 813 974 9369; E-mail: jwynn@cas.usf.edu



Fred Spoor (University College London, UK) Co-author
Until 19 Sep Tel: +44 20 7679 4316, (work) or: +44 20 7249 2806 (home)

From 21 Sep Tel: +49 34 13 550748, (Max Planck) or: 49 341 96530 (hotel)

E-mail: f.spoor@ucl.ac.uk



Bernard Wood (The George Washington University, Washington DC, USA)
Tel: +1 202 994 6077; E-mail: bernardawood@gmail.com N&V Author

Images are available on request.

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Keywords associated to this article: evolution, fossil, Ethiopia
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