JULY 11, 2002 Human Skull Found in Chad thought to be Remains of Oldest Human Ancestor

[In the Djurab desert in northern Chad, a team of French scientists has uncovered the remains of what appears to be the oldest human ancestor ever found.] Pieces of a skull, jawbone and teeth were originally found on July 19, 2001 by Ahounta Djimdoumalbaye, a student working with the researchers. The fossil remains have been dated to between 6 and 7 million years.

“The interesting thing about this new finding for me is the fauna found with the hominid,” said Dr. Kaye Reed, paleoecologist for the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University. “The mammals are a collection of Eurasian and African forms that indicate migration into Africa. The migration was probably due to colder and drier climate in Eurasia. The most recent Miocene apes that is the youngest previously known, occur for the most part in Europe and Asia. Several of these species have been suggested to be hominid ancestors -- and now Sahelanthropus is found in an area of faunal interchange. Of course this species could have arisen in Africa, but it is also possible that its lineage is a recent African arrival.”

As Bernard Wood, an anthropologist at George Washington University, noted, “with all of these new fossil discoveries, the evolution of the hominid lineage is just much more complex than was previously thought.”

Paleo News

What did Dr. Kaye Reed find to be most interesting?

Why does the anthropologist believe the evolution of the hominid lineage is more complex than he thought?




Your first name:    Your age:   Your country:

If you want to receive your evaluation by e-mail, enter your full e-mail address here:

Submitted by:
Mrs. Dimino's Eighth Grade Life Science Classes
JFK Middle School
Port Jefferson Station, New York

National Educational Technology Standard:
Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity and promote learning.
 Concepts/Skills: Interpreting, inferring, analyzing, synthesizing