Flat-Faced Early Humans Confirmed—Lived Among Other Human Species

Flat-Faced Early Humans Confirmed—Lived Among Other Human Species

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New fossils recast a flat-faced oddity as a star species in the first chapter of the human story—perhaps even as our oldest known truly human ancestor. At the least, the fossils confirm that at least three different human species inhabited the same Kenyan neighborhood at the dawn of humanity, according to a new study led by paleontologists Meave and Louise Leakey.

Consisting of a face, a complete lower jaw, and part of a second jaw, the new fossils were found east of Kenya’s Lake Turkana between 2007 and 2009. The products of a 40-year search, they provide the needed evidence to confirm that a disputed skull found in 1972 does in fact represent a new species, the team says. Dated to between 1.78 and 1.95 million years ago, the remains were uncovered within six miles of the 1972 skull, which also was discovered by the Leakeys and their Koobi Fora Research Project.

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