News from Woranso-Mille, in Ethiopia via Yahoo!, which although is as yet brief, will doubtless receive more detailed coverage in due course…

Ethiopian scientists said on Tuesday they have discovered hominid fossil fragments dating from between 3.5 million and 3.8 million years ago in what could fill a crucial gap in the understanding of human evolution.

Ethiopian archaeologist Yohannes Haile Selassie said the find included several complete jaws and one partial skeleton and were unearthed in the Afar desert at Woranso-Mille, near where the famous fossil skeleton known as Lucy was found in 1974.

“This is a major finding that could fill a gap in human evolution,” he told a news conference in Addis Ababa.

The fossil hominids from the Woranso-Mille area sample a time period that is poorly known in human evolutionary study.”

Lucy, the most famous find, lived between 3.3 million and 3.6 million years ago. But Yohannes said Afar had yielded early hominid fossil remains spanning the last 6 million years.

That’s all that seems to be up at the moment, and I’ll check around later in the day for further news or developments. In the meantime, this link will take to you to a page hosted by Cleveland Museum of Natural History, detailing the Woranso-Mille Project, described here…

From 2003-2005, the Woranso-Mille project in the Mille district of the Afar Regional State of Ethiopia recovered about 1,000 fossil specimens of various animals from sediments between 3.5 million and 4 million years old. Among these are early human ancestor fossils, including a partial skeleton of an adult individual, that are believed to shed light on a period of human evolution that was previously little documented.

It sounds as though there are plenty more fossils out there awaiting excavation, though whether their discovery will clarify or further complicate our perceptions regarding evolution in early hominids, remains to be seen. (TJ)

(via Anthro-L)

Image: Project participant and famous hominid fossil finder Alemayehu Asfaw discovered a hominid lower jaw on February 9, 2006.

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