Explained: What a skull tells us about human evolution

  1. Scientists have announced the discovery of a nearly complete skull of an early human ancestor called MRD in Ethiopia.
  2. The fossil is being considered as the face of the oldest known species that is part of the human evolutionary tree.
  3. The skull belongs to the species Australopithecus anamensis which first appeared roughly 4.2 million years ago.
  4. This species is also considered the direct ancestor of the species Australopithecus afarensis nicknamed Lucy,which was discovered in 1974 in Ethiopia.
  5. Scientists have said that MRD’s species were bipedal means using only two legs for walking.But they may also have been able to move around in trees and were much smaller than modern humans.
  6. Further,the dating of the skull also reveals that Anamensis and its descendent species,Lucy may have coexisted for a period of at least 100,000 years.
  7. This discovery also challenges the long-held notion of linear evolution in which one species disappears and is replaced by a new one.