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Old Bones

The following is a fine example of Oz journalism - the actual scientific 
discovery is not enough to raise attention, but the fact that an 
australian was involved made it newsworthy. Sort of like "An airliner has 
crashed in Colombia killing all five hundred people on board, but we're 
reporting towards the end of the bulletin because there weren't any 
australians killed."

(from the Brisbane Courier Mail, 18/8/95, p3)


An Australian archaeologist has helped determine that
fossils found in Kenya indicate an until-now unknown human
ancestor walked upright 500,000 years before previously

Australian National University researcher Ian McDougall has
been part of a team studying dozens of bones found between
1967 and 1995, and their findings will be published in the
scientific journal Nature today.

The article says the newly declared Australopithecus
anamensis, about four million years old, was a hairy
creature which lived in woodlands, walked on two legs and
did not drag its arms.

Alan Walker, a Pennsylvania scientist, also studied the
fragments of fossilised jaw, teeth, skull and leg bones
found by archaeology teams in north-west Kenya. 

A piece of shin bone was strong enough and shaped to
support an upright-walking creature, and there was other
evidence the arms were not as strong as chimpanzees' -
indicating it could not swing from trees. 

He said the creature was probably covered in hair, and the
facial bones indicated it had an ape-like chin structure
and would have weighed about 46-55kg.

Scientists had long guessed there was a missing walking
species about four million years old in the human
evolutionary tree.

Until now, the oldest evidence of upright walkers was the
famous "Lucy", whose fossilised remains were found in
Ethiopia in 1974.

ook, peter

Incidentally, is there anyone else getting returned messages from 
"zeke_mandel%sepl@notes.worldcom.com" when they post to the list, or has 
this person just got it in for me ?