Another species of ‘modern humans’ existed along with ‘Lucy’ 3.5 mln yrs ago

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Washington | Published: May 28, 2015 3:19:38 PM

A new study has examined that humans have a new ancestor i.e. a new hominin species called Australopithecus deyiremeda that most probably lived at the same time as the "Lucy" species in Ethiopia.

A new study has examined that humans have a new ancestor i.e. a new hominin species called Australopithecus deyiremeda that most probably lived at the same time as the “Lucy” species in Ethiopia.

According to the study, the species would have lived between 3.3 and 3.5 million years ago, a timestamp that further muddles human evolution, while also lending support to the idea that numerous hominins co-existed during the middle Pliocene.

Australopithecus deyiremeda differs from Lucy’s species in terms of the shape and size of its thick-enameled teeth and the robust architecture of its lower jaws. The anterior teeth are also relatively small indicating that it probably had a different diet.

Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie of The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, said that this new species from Ethiopia takes the ongoing debate on early hominin diversity to another level and some of their colleagues were going to be skeptical about this new species, which was not unusual.

Scientists have long argued that there was only one pre-human species at any given time between 3 and 4 million years ago, subsequently giving rise to another new species through time. This was what the fossil record appeared to indicate until the end of the 20th century. However, the naming of Australopithecus bahrelghazali from Chad and Kenyanthropus platyops from Kenya, both from the same time period as Lucy’s species, challenged this long-held idea.

The study is published in the journal Nature.

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