“Missing Link” of Human Evolution Possibly Discovered by 9-Year-Old
The fossil belongs to Australopithecus sediba.
A 9-year-old boy tripped over a rock in South Africa, unearthing a fossil that might just be the “missing link” of human evolution.
In 2008, Matthew Berger was walking his dog and stopped to take a second look at what he thought was just debris, USA Today reported. But the “rock” was actually a fossil belonging to Australopithecus sediba and, as a direct result, that same area of the country is now the Malapa Fossil Site.
The discovery of the 2-million-year-old adult female and young male remains in what’s called the “Cradle of Humankind” set off a contentious debate in the scientific community.
While scientists found that the species is the bridge between the 3-million-year-old “Lucy” or Australopithecus afarensis and the “handy man” Homo habilis, which used tools between 1.5 and 2.1 million years ago, it debates the theory that human evolution has been a straightforward process.
“Our findings challenge a traditional, linear view of evolution,” co-author of the study, Jeremy DeSilva, said in a press release. “It was once thought that a fossil species a million years younger than Lucy would surely look more human-like — instead, what we’re witnessing here are parallel lineages, illustrating how different hominin experiments were unfolding early in our complex evolutionary history.”
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