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New fossils hint at ancestral split

African discoveries point to two early species in the human genus

By
2:56pm, August 8, 2012

Newly discovered face and jaw fossils show that at least two species of the human genus Homo lived alongside each other in East Africa nearly 2 million years ago.

These new finds are a good match for a roughly 2 million-year-old Homo brain case and face excavated in 1972 in the same part of East Africa, reports a team led by anthropologist Meave Leakey of the Turkana Basin Institute in Nairobi, Kenya. Long considered a puzzling exception among early Homo finds, the 1972 discovery features big bones and a flat, upright face and represents a species apart, Leakey and her col

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