News FocusPaleoanthropology

Little Foot, Big Mystery

Science  09 Sep 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6048, pp. 1374
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6048.1374

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Summary

After nearly 15 years of excavation, the most complete hominin skeleton ever discovered, dubbed "Little Foot," which includes a beautifully preserved skull as well as arm, hand, and leg bones, the pelvis, plus many vertebrae and ribs, is expected to be out of the cave in which it was discovered within the next 2 months. Researchers agree that Little Foot may have much to tell about human evolution. But just what it has to say is unclear: So far only very preliminary descriptions have been published, and researchers are locked in a sharp debate over the skeleton's age, with estimates as old as 3.3 million years and as young as 2.2 million years.