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New hominid (Nature article)

As mentioned earlier...

Brunet, M. et al. [actually about 40 more authors!] (2002).  A new hominid
from the Upper Miocene of Chad, Central Africa.  Nature 418: 145-151.  
Names and describes _Sahelanthropus tchadensis_, based on a nearly complete
cranium (TM 266-01-060-1) and other material.  "_Sahelanthropus_ is the
oldest and most primitive known member of the hominid clade, close to the
divergence of hominids and chimpanzees.  Further analysis will be necessary
to make reliable inferences about the phylogenetic position of
_Sahelanthropus_ relative to known hominids.  One possibility is that
_Sahelanthropus_ is a sister group of more recent hominids, including

Abstract: "The search for the earliest fossil evidence of the human lineage
has been concentrated in East Africa.  Here we report the discovery of six
hominid specimens from Chad, central Africa, 2,500 km from the East African
Rift Valley.  The fossils include a nearly complete cranium and fragmentary
lower jaws.  The associated fauna suggest the fossils are between 6 and 7
million years old.  The fossils display a unique mosaic of primitive and
derived characters, and constitute a new genus and species of hominid.  The
distance from the Rift Valley, and the great antiquity of the fossils,
suggest that the earliest members of the hominid clade were more widely
distributed than has been thought, and that the divergence between the human
and chimpanzee lineages was earlier than indicated by most molecular



Timothy J. Williams, Ph.D. 

USDA-ARS Researcher 
Agronomy Hall 
Iowa State University 
Ames IA 50014 

Phone: 515 294 9233 
Fax:   515 294 9359