Newly found species may have lived with ‘Lucy’

According to scientists, Australopithecus deyiremeda is a recently discovered species of hominin that has revealed some information regarding out earliest ancestors. The researchers said in a study that teeth and jawbones that have been discovered are between 3.3 million and 3.5 million old. The study has been published in the journal Science and it indicates that many hominin species coexisted during this period.

The remains that have been found are similar to ‘Lucy’, the well-known 3.2 million-year-old remains of the species Australopithecus afarensis. ‘Lucy’ was found in 1974. However, researchers said that there are many differences in the jaw architecture and size and shape of the teeth, which indicate that this is a new species, signifying ancestry is more complicated than what was thought before.

The scientists found the remains were found in the Woranso-Mille area in the deserts of Ethiopia's central Afar region. Yohannes Haile-Selassie, head of physical anthropology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is the leading scientist on the project. He has been carrying out field research in the Woranso-Mille area for over a decade.

According to a news release on the museum's website, "The new species is yet another confirmation that Lucy's species, Australopithecus afarensis, was not the only potential human ancestor species that roamed in what is now the Afar region of Ethiopia during the middle Pliocene". He added that present fossil evidence from the Woranso-Mille study area indicates that there were at least two early human species living together and in close geographic proximity.

According to Haile-Selassie, a new species will take the argument regarding on early hominin diversity to some other stage and could be met by skepticism in some quarters.