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Possibly pivotal human ancestor debated

Fossils yield new look at species that may have spawned humankind

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3:40pm, April 18, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — Fossils described last year as representatives of an ancient species critical to human evolution have reentered the scientific spotlight and set off a new round of debate over the finds’ true identity.

Researchers described analyses of new and previously recovered remains of a South African species called Australopithecus sediba on April 16 at a meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. Evidence is accumulating, they reported, that 2-million-year-old A. sediba formed an evolutionary connection between relatively apelike members of Australopithecus and the Homo genus, which includes living people.

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