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Historic find as jawbone of 'first human' uncovered in northern Ethiopia

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Scientists in Ethiopia have uncovered a very important jawbone fragment which is said to be from the first group of human beings. The historic find suggests that humans as a species evolved a lot earlier than previously thought by science.

The jawbone fragment, which still has some teeth attached to the bone, is approximately 2.8 million years old. This places the emergence of primitive humans at almost 400,000 years earlier than was thought before the find. Scientist Brian Villmoare explained the size of the discovery saying "It is the first fossil we have on the branch that leads toward us".

The most famous of all fossils when it comes to tracing the origin of the species is of course Lucy whose skeletal remains are dated at around 3.2 million years old and were discovered very close to this site. Lucy was a human-like ape whose contemporaries are widely considered to be the precursors to human beings.

Fossils from after Lucy's era until later known species of hominids are extremely few and far between, adding to the significance of this find. The fossil shows traits from Lucy's generation such as the shape of the chin as well as traits from Homo Erectus in the width of the molars.

This demonstrates the importance of the fossil in getting a better idea of the emergence of the first primitive humans. Although the specimen is a solid find from a generation about which not much is known, Professor Villmoare reminds us all that this is only the beginning by saying "Of course this specimen raises many more questions than answers, and those questions will only be resolved by further fieldwork."

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