News of the WeekPaleoanthropology

Scientists Spar Over Claims of Earliest Human Ancestor

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Science  23 Feb 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5508, pp. 1460-1461
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5508.1460

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PARIS-- In two papers scheduled for publication in the 28 February issue of the Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences, researchers claim that a set of 6-million-year-old bones unearthed in Kenya last year represents our earliest known ancestor. Not only would the find predate other leading candidates by some 2 million years; the authors also believe that all australopithecines--hominids which include the famous skeleton Lucy, whose species is thought to be one of our direct ancestors--should be relegated to a side branch in favor of their specimen.