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Another close-up view of the Homo mandible, shown just steps from where Arizona State University graduate student Chalachew Seyoum from Ethiopia spotted it. The scientists involved in the discovery aren't sure if the fossil belongs to a new species or to a known, extinct human species, such as Homo habilis. They plan to learn more about the fossil before making that decision and giving it a name. (Photo credit: Kaye Reed)

Another close-up view of the Homo mandible, LD350-1, shown just steps from where Arizona State University graduate student Chalachew Seyoum from Ethiopia spotted it. The scientists involved in the discovery aren’t sure if the fossil belongs to a new species or to a known, extinct human species, such as Homo habilis. They plan to learn more about the fossil before making that decision and giving it a name. (Photo credit: Kaye Reed)

A 2.8-million-year-old mandible with five teeth discovered atop a hill in Ledi-Geraru, Ethiopia was published today in the journal Science. The mandible fossil is very much transitional… It displays traits from both Australopithecus and Homo, and indicates the genus Homo is half million years older than thought. The geological analysis has also been published in Science.

Scientists sieve through sand at the Ledi-Geraru site at the Afar Regional State in Ethiopia, where they discovered the Homo mandible, known as LD 350-1. (Photo credit: Brian Villmoare)

Scientists sieve through sand at the Ledi-Geraru site at the Afar Regional State in Ethiopia, where they discovered the Homo mandible, known as LD 350-1. (Photo credit: Brian Villmoare)

Chris Campisano, of Arizona State University, samples a tuff in the Ledi-Geraru project area in Ethiopia with support from Sabudo Boraru. (Photo credit: J Ramón Arrowsmith)

Chris Campisano, of Arizona State University, samples a tuff in the Ledi-Geraru project area in Ethiopia with support from Sabudo Boraru. (Photo credit: J Ramón Arrowsmith)

The mandible of a hippo was also discovered at the Ledi-Geraru site. The mandible is still in the ground there, said study researcher Brian Villmoare of the University of Nevada Las Vegas. (Photo credit: Brian Villmoare)

The mandible of a hippo was also discovered at the Ledi-Geraru site. The mandible is still in the ground there, said study researcher Brian Villmoare of the University of Nevada Las Vegas. (Photo credit: Brian Villmoare)

Another view of a camel caravan as the animals move across the so-called Lee Adoyta region in the Ledi-Geraru research site near where researchers discovered the early Homo mandible. The hills behind the camels reveal sediments that are younger than 2.67 million year old, providing a minimum age for the partial mandible dubbed LD 350-1, say the scientists. (Photo credit: Erin DiMaggio, Penn State)

Another view of a camel caravan as the animals move across the so-called Lee Adoyta region in the Ledi-Geraru research site near where researchers discovered the early Homo mandible. The hills behind the camels reveal sediments that are younger than 2.67 million year old, providing a minimum age for the partial mandible dubbed LD 350-1, say the scientists. (Photo credit: Erin DiMaggio, Penn State)

Geologists work in the field at the Ledi-Geraru site in Ethiopia, where they discovered a partial mandible, with five of its teeth intact, belonging to an individual in the genus Homo. (Photo credit: Brian Villmoare)

Geologists work in the field at the Ledi-Geraru site in Ethiopia, where they discovered a partial mandible, with five of its teeth intact, belonging to an individual in the genus Homo. (Photo credit: Brian Villmoare)

A camel caravan walks through the excavation site in the Afar region where researchers dug up a partial mandible from a potentially new Homo species. The researchers dated the fossil by looking at the ages of the layers of volcanic ash above and below it. (Photo credit: Brian Villmoare)

A camel caravan walks through the excavation site in the Afar region where researchers dug up a partial mandible from a potentially new Homo species. The researchers dated the fossil by looking at the ages of the layers of volcanic ash above and below it. (Photo credit: Brian Villmoare)

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