Fossil Jaw Discovered In Ethiopia Is Oldest Modern Human Fossil Ever Found

NEW YORK (AP) — A fragment of jawbone found in Ethiopia is the oldest known fossil from an evolutionary tree branch that eventually led to modern humans, scientist reported Wednesday.

The fossil comes from very close to the time that our branch split away from more ape-like ancestors best known for the fossil skeleton Lucy. So it gives a rare glimpse of what very early members of our branch looked like.

At about 2.8 million years old, the partial jawbone pushes back the fossil record by at least 400,000 years for our branch, which scientists call Homo.

It was found two years ago at a site not far from where Lucy was unearthed. Africa is a hotbed for human ancestor fossils, and scientists from Arizona State University have worked for years at the site in northeast Ethiopia, trying to find fossils from the dimly understood period when the Homo genus, or group, arose.

Our species, called Homo sapiens, is the only surviving member of this group.

The jaw fragment, which includes five teeth, was discovered in pieces one morning by Chalachew Seyoum, an Ethiopian graduate student at Arizona State. He said he spotted a tooth poking out of the ground while looking for fossils.

The discovery —> Read More Here

Becoming One With Winter on the Sun Prairie

Landmark folder

National Geographic Emerging Explorer Gregg Treinish and his team at Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation bring us stories from around the world about adventuring with purpose. Here, Trent Banks, a volunteer with the ASC Landmark program on the American Prairie Reserve, paints a picture of winter life on the northern Great Plains.

Story by Trent Banks

As an adventurer and explorer of wild places, I live for the mystical moments when our connection to Earth—and indeed life itself—becomes more tangible. Encounters with the elements and beasts that are wilderness can take you unaware, strip you down to your instinctual self, call all your faculties and judgment into play, and force you to explore elements of yourself previously unearthed.

There are moments of transcendence I search out, and then there are moments that seem to find me. The American Prairie Reserve is full of both.

On a cold winter’s morning, the sun begins to show its face. (Photo by Mike Quist Kautz)

I set my alarm to wake with enough time to make coffee and get to the ranch house porch for sunrise, Helios unfurling from over the Larb Hills in a day-glow array that celebrates a new day. A fluttering of wings —> Read More Here

1 2 3 2,074