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Australopithecine Could Be Humanity's Earliest Ancestor

Updated on November 9, 2011
Bones of what is thought to be our ancestors
Bones of what is thought to be our ancestors

Tracking down the debated evolution of the human race, the hominids might not be the first one on the list. Surprisingly, remains of a human like fossils of two undefined species were found in a cave, in South Africa last 2008. The fossils were found by a 9-year old son of a scientist while they were in South Africa. The extinct remains of hominids are known to be Australopethicus sediba- the specie that is said to be the first to the human lineage that came before Homo genus.

The remains found were from a fossil of a young boy of 9 to 11 years old, and a woman in her 20s or 30s. Australopithecus means southern ape and sediba means offspring. Along with the family of Australopithecus is the iconic figure Lucy, which was also found in Southern Africa. Studying the fossils and the period these species have lived, the unclear yet startling findings were that it had lived long before the Homo genus came. The fossils were approximately 1.977 million years old while the Homos came 77,000 years after them. Today, this subject was put into controversy whether these species were our origins or the Hominids.

Skull of the infamous Lucy, 3.2 million years old Australopithecus afarensis.
Skull of the infamous Lucy, 3.2 million years old Australopithecus afarensis.

Australopithecus sediba has a structure of a hominin and hominid. Hominins include chimpanzee, gorilla, and humans while Hominids includes species after the Homos. Further descriptions of the characteristics of this specie serve as evidence that these might answer the question of human beings origins. Sedibas have a small but human-like brain. This structure is one of the strongest proofs that the sediba really came before the homos. The brain is what differentiates human beings to animals, and the specimen of Au. Sediba has a prominent skull structure very similar to a human skull. A research was made using the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France, and they have found out that the brain of Au. sediba is located just below the hairline, similar to the location of a human brain. The orbitofrontal region is also behind the eyes which is similar to the human’s frontal lobe.

The hips, waist, and feet also have revealed modern human-like features as well. Scientist thought that these structures of Au. sediba have become much broader during the evolution to help our ancestors walk better in grasslands and other continents. The feet and ankles of the Au. sediba are similar to that of humans, but the heels were mostly ape-like.

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The most astonishing findings about this specie are that they are called as "tool makers" because of their strong and creative hands, a further proof that they did not belong to the animal kingdom but actually were our ancestors.

Although there are issues that Au. sediba might be first in the line of the human race, there hasn’t been a conclusion whether this claim is true or not. The controversy behind the whole human evolution theory is still questionable and unclear. The more new specimens are discovered, the more it adds up to two things-either it causes the understanding of the human origin or the further confusion and rise of more unanswered and debatable questions.


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    • Steph0596 profile image

      Steph0596 6 years ago from Ontario

      It's not an original, its a plaster replica. To view the original, check out:, it has many other pics and some interesting facts about bones that have been found in history.

      Thanks for your interest!

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Why does the Lucy skull appear to be mostly plaster?