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A New Human Ancestor?

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Science  23 Apr 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5414, pp. 572-573
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5414.572

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Hominid fossils found in Ethiopia, described in a pair of papers beginning on page 625, are starting to fill in a mysterious chapter of human prehistory. According to the international team that made the discoveries, one new find, a big-toothed skull, represents an unusual new species that is the best candidate for the ancestor of our own genus, Homo. Not everyone in the field agrees, but the new species, which the researchers have named Australopithecus garhi, is certain to shake up views of the transition from the apelike australopithecines to humankind. The team also found hominid leg and arm bones, as well as scored antelope bones that represent the earliest recorded evidence of hominids butchering animals, bolstering the notion that meat eating was important in human evolution.