Rare skeleton shown of human ancestor, 3.6 million years old

Rodiano Bonacci
Dicembre 11, 2017

It is by far the most complete skeleton of a human ancestor older than 1.5 million years ever found. The unveiling will be the first time that the completely cleaned and reconstructed skeleton can be viewed by the national and worldwide media. Later, he sent other researchers to dig deep into the cave in order to find other possible fossil remains.

The skeleton dates back 3.6 million years.

Clarke alongside his team used different scientific methods to analyze every bone that had been attributed to Little Foot.

Palaeoanthropologist Professor Ron Clarke unveiled for the first time to the public, the Little Foot fossilised hominid skeleton at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, Dec. 6, 2017.

Soon after his discovery Clarke realized that the remarkably complete hominoid skeleton is extremely significant.

Speaking at the unveiling of the remains, Clarke said, per the Mail and Guardian, "This is of course the culminating find of my career, in terms of the greatness of the specimen". The results of these studies are expected to be published in a series of scientific papers in high impact, peer reviewed worldwide journals in the near future. "My assistants and I have worked on painstakingly cleaning the bones from breccia blocks and reconstructing the full skeleton until the present day".

A team spent more than 20 years excavating, cleaning and putting together the skeleton of Little Foot. Among its many initiatives aimed at uplifting the origin sciences across Africa, PAST has been a major funder of research at Sterkfontein for over two decades. Its discovery is expected to help researchers better understand the human ancestor's appearance and movement.

The discovery is a source of pride for Africans, said Robert Blumenschine, chief scientist with the organization that funded the excavation, the Paleontological Scientific Trust (PAST). "Not only is Africa the storehouse of the ancient fossil heritage for people the world over, it was also the wellspring of everything that makes us human, including our technological prowess, our artistic ability, and our supreme intellect", he says. "It was like excavating a fluffy pastry out of concrete", Prof Clarke said.

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