Infant Australopithecus from Dikika
Harmon, Elizabeth Department of Anthropology, Hunter College, New York, New York.
- Fossil skeleton
- Mode of locomotion
- Growth and development
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Australopithecus afarensis is an extinct species of the evolutionary lineage leading to modern humans. It is well known from numerous important fossil discoveries from sites in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania, dating to between 2.9 and 3.8 million years ago. Since anthropologists know a good deal about the anatomy of A. afarensis, this species provides the best evidence for reconstructing the evolutionary relationships and behavior of early human species. The recent exciting discovery of an infant skeleton of A. afarensis from eastern Africa has provided new insights into the biology of this important species. It is rare that skeletons of such antiquity survive, and the preservation and discovery of a nearly complete infant skeleton are unprecedented. The fossil skeleton (DIK-1-1), nicknamed “Selam,” was discovered at Dikika in Ethiopia in 2000 by a research team led by Zeresenay Alemseged. It was recovered from the Hadar Formation, a thick series of sediments that has produced most of the fossil finds of A. afarensis, including the adult partial skeleton A.L. 288-1, known as “Lucy,” found in 1974.
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