This week's In The News highlights the discovery of a new species of human ancestor, Australopithecus garhi, the details of which appear in the April 23, 1999 issue of the journal Science. Unearthed by an international team of paleoanthropologists in Bouri, Ethiopia, the skull and tooth fragments may belong to a "completely new" hominid that lived 2.5 million years ago. Also found at the site (though a connection to the skull fragments has not been established) are long arm and leg bones and the earliest ever examples of tools for carving and eating meat. According to Ethiopian anthropologist Dr. Berhane Asfaw and research colleagues from the US and Japan, this combination has never been seen in a fossil species of hominid before. The suggestion by the international researchers -- that these remains could come from an immediate predecessor of humans, filling a vital and missing link in the evolution from ape-man (Australopithecus) to human (Homo) -- has raised contention among other scientists with competing theories of human evolution. The nine resources listed provide background information, commentary, and resources related to the recent discovery.


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