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New Fossils Expand Range of Australopithecus

Thursday, March 24, 2016

australopithecus afarensis fossils KYOTO, JAPAN—Paleontologists have found Australopithecus afarensis fossils in a part of Kenya that suggest that the early hominin species lived much farther east then previously believed. Fossilized teeth and a forearm bone from an adult male and two infants were found in an area eroded by the Kantis River in Ongata-Rongai, a settlement on the outskirts of Nairobi. These are the first A. afarensis fossils to be found east of the Great Rift Valley. The species is thought to have lived between 3.7 and 3 million years ago, based on fossils such as “Lucy,” found in Ethiopia. Stable isotope analysis has shown that the Kantis area was humid with a plain-like environment and fewer trees than the areas where A. afarensis fossils have previously been found. "The hominid must have discovered suitable habitats in the Kenyan highlands,” says Masato Nakatsukasa of Kyoto University in a press release. “It seems that A. afarensis was good at adapting to varying environments.” For more, go to “Ardipithecus: Ape or Ancestor?

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