Yohannes Haile-Selassie and Bruce Latimer of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland, Ohio, has been conducting a paleoanthropological survey in the Mille-Chifra-Kasa Gita area of the Afar Region.
The survey was conducted under a permit from the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ARCCH) of the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Culture and was financially supported by the Leakey Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation of the United States of America.
In addition to this discovery, skeletal parts of other individuals were found in different localities in the area.
These discoveries include isolated teeth, and elements from below the neck (arm bones, leg bones, phalanges).
THE FOSSILS The survey team collected a number of fossils that were exposed on the ground's surface.
Among small mammals, porcupines, cane rats, and other species of rats were discovered.A total of 12 early hominid fossil specimens were discovered, including parts of one individual's skeleton.Portions recovered thus far include a complete tibia, parts of a femur, ribs, vertebrae, clavicle, pelvis, and a complete scapula of an adult whose sex and stature are yet to be determined, although it is already clear that the individual was larger than Lucy.This will place the new fossils in time between the earlier 4.4 million year old Ardipithecus ramidus partial skeleton and the younger 3.2 million year old "Lucy" partial skeleton of A. The team hopes that the new discoveries will allow scientists to connect the dots -- furthering our knowledge of this important time period in human evolution.Numerous highly important scientific issues will be tackled by the researchers as work continues.The total section in the area is estimated to be about 50 meters thick. Alan Deino has collected 16 rock samples and the most critical samples above and below the fossiliferous horizon will be dated soon at the Berkeley Geochronology Center in Berkeley, California.The estimated age of the site, based on preliminary field analysis of the associated animal fossils, is roughly 3.8 to 4 million years.The faunal assemblage also includes crocodiles, fish, and hippopotamus.GEOLOGY AND DATING Exposed sediments in the new fossiliferous area are mostly silty sand and silty clay horizons interbedded with a number of volcanic tuffs and basaltic flows suitable for dating.We – – are now the sole surviving species in this once diverse family tree.While the existence of a human evolutionary family tree is not in question, its size and shape - the number of branches representing different and species, and the connections among them – are much debated by researchers and further confounded by a fossil record that only offers fragmented look at the ancient past.We invite you to explore our digital collection of human fossils, including descriptions, information, photographs and even 3D scans of dozens of human fossils!This is a collection that will grow over time, so please come back again and see what new fossils we've added.Mille is 520 KM northeast of Addis Ababa, and the new site is approximately 60 kilometers north of the famous Lucy site.