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Sediba may be human forebear.

A surprising mix of apelike and humanlike features from head to toe supports a controversial contention that a 2-million-year-old member of the human evolutionary family gave rise to the genus Homo. An international team of researchers reports the details in six papers published April 12 in Science. Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and his colleagues assigned two partial skeletons and other fossils found in a South African cave in 2008 to a species they named Australopithecus sediba (reconstructed skeleton shown). Among the group's new findings: A. sediba's teeth suggest that this hominid evolved into a Homo species, but had no links to earlier East African hominids often regarded as Homo ancestors. Those hominids include 3.2-million-year-old Australopithecus afarensis. A. sediba's relatively long arms were suited to hanging out in trees, consistent with its relatively narrow, apelike upper rib cage. But the hominids also had narrow, humanlike lower rib cages and lower backs that were longer and more flexible than those of people today.


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Title Annotation:Humans
Author:Bower, Bruce
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 18, 2013
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