Our ancient kin have taken a big step back in time. An international team working in Ethiopia has found bones and teeth of the earliest known hominid, a member in good standing of humanity's evolutionary family.
The fragmentary remains come from at least five individuals–in the genus Ardipithecus–who lived between 5.2 million and 5.8 million years ago, says anthropology graduate student Yohannes Haile-Selassie of the University of California, Berkeley. He describes the finds in the July 12 Nature.
Until now, the earliest Ardipithecus fossils came from a 4.4-million-year-old Ethiopian site. Australopithecus, the genus that includes Lucy's famous remains, lived in eastern Africa