After analyzing a series of fossils, scientists have realized that two million years early humans were still swinging from trees.
Ten years ago in South Africa’s Malapa Fossil Site, scientists found fossils of Australopithecus (which means ‘southern ape’) sediba, which started a very long debate. Finally, researchers have concluded that these fossils are linked to the Homo genus and the bridge between early humans and their predecessors.
The Malapa site in South Africa was discovered by mistake by Matthew Berger (9 years old at that time), when he was chasing his dog. Luckily, he stumbled upon what today makes headlines all over the world.
“The first fossil of Au. Sediba was discovered by Matthew Berger, then a nine-year-old, who happened to stop and examine the rock he tripped over while following his dog Tau away from the Malapa pit,” wrote the authors of the study.
The Missing Link Between “Lucy” and the “Handy Man”
The analysis of the fossils has been published this week in Paleoanthropology, and the results can finally show that the gap between the 3-million-year-old “Lucy” and the “handy man” (which used tools of 1.5-2.1 million years ago) was finally filled.
Authors wrote that the fossils of Australopithecus sediba show that humans in that period “spent significant time climbing in trees, perhaps for foraging and protection from predators.”
According to the lead researcher Scott Williams (New York University), the fossil doesn’t just sheds light on its way of life, but it also reveals more about the “major transition in hominin evolution.”
The A. sediba lived almost 2 million years ago, and it is now believed to be closely linked to the homo genus and not a different species. Looking at the two skeletons (a female and a male) found in 2008, experts discovered many features that they shared with fossils from the homo genus.
The researchers that have analyzed these fossils are thankful that the boy stumbled over the rocks and noticed the fossils, adding that this is only a reminder that they still have a lot to discover about humanity’s evolutionary past.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere