View Full Version : NNat. Geo.: 3.6-Million-Year-Old Human Ancestor Unveiled to Public

12-07-2017, 07:34 PM
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"Assembling "Little Foot," the oldest hominid skeleton ever found in Southern Africa, was an effort that took more than 20 years. For the first time, a near-complete skeleton dating back 3.67 million years has been unveiled to the public.

On December 6, an Australopithecus fossil dubbed "Little Foot" was displayed at the Hominin Vault at the University of the Witwatersrand's Evolutionary Studies Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa. The remains have been cleaned and reconstructed to reveal a skeleton that has more than 90 percent of its bones intact, save parts of its feet, pelvis, and kneecaps. "It has a lot of firsts," Ron Clarke, a paleoanthropologist who contributed to the discovery, tells Eyewitness News."It's the first complete skeleton adult, it is the first skeleton that has a complete arm and a complete leg in one individual that can be compared, and it is the oldest in Southern Africa."

Little Foot has been covered extensively since Clarke found four of its foot fragments while digging through a box of animal bones from South Africa's Sterkfontein Caves in 1994, and he sent other researchers into the Sterkfontein Caves in July 1997 to look for clues. Since then, the researchers have worked hard to excavate and prepare the fossils for their current display."