Partial skeletons may represent new hominid

Finds claimed to illuminate evolutionary roots of Homo genus

By Bruce Bower, 11:26 AM April 8, 2010

Nearly 2 million years ago, an adult and a child walking through the South African landscape somehow fell through openings in a partly eroded, underground cave and died. Today, that fatal plunge has led to their identification as representatives of a new hominid species — and a contentious debate among paleoanthropologists over the pair’s evolutionary relationship to modern humans.

In the April 9 Science, anthropologist Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and h...

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