Have more evolutionary fossils ever been found

“Wunderfund” brings new knowledge about our ancestors

Now, with the new skull as a reference, Melillo and Haile-Selassie assume that the Belohdeli forehead doesn't become one A. anamensisbut to one A. afarensis belongs.

Since the Belohdeli forehead is older than the new skull, the find suggests that A. anamensis and A. afarensis have a temporal overlap from 3.8 to 3.9 million years ago.

This confuses the current line of evolution: So far, the researchers assumed that the following generations of A. anamensis to A. afarensis evolved, a direct process in which there was no overlap between the two types. Now the theory has been put forward that a group of A. anamensis split off from the rest and closed about 3.9 million years ago A. afarensis has evolved while other groups of A. anamensis remained at their stage of development.

Some scientists believe that this evolutionary scenario has yet to be substantiated with more fossils.

"To be on the safe side, you need a sufficiently large selection of finds from this timeframe as well as others," says William Kimbel, who is a paleoanthropologist at the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University and does not work on the study was involved. "You cannot make a well-founded statement about the course of evolution as long as there are only two objects of comparison that underpin it."

The research team has already announced that more studies are in the pipeline, including one that will look in detail at the range of diets and lifestyles involved A. anamensis and A. afarensis could possibly differ. And even now the scientists can look forward to something: a fossil that they are looking at.

"It really fills you with awe," says Melillo. "To have the opportunity to look this being in the face that I already knew so much about and that I had so many theories about was incredibly great."

The article was originally published in English on NationalGeographic.com.