Researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in South Africa have revealed a discovery which they call as ‘by far the most complete skeleton of a human ancestor older than 1.5 million years ever found’. The team of researchers associated with the study has displayed the almost complete fossil of Australopithecus on Wednesday.
The fossil dates back about 3.6 million years. The discovery is supposed to help the team better understand the appearance of human ancestors and their movements. researchers said that the fragile skeleton took nearly 20 years to get completely cleaned, excavated, analyze and reconstruct
The skeleton is nicknamed as ‘Little Foot’ and was found in the Sterkfontein Caves, situated nearly 25 miles northwest of Johannesburg, where little bones were found when miners blasted the rock.
Prof. Ron Clarke with his assistants discovered the fossils at the location, for which they spent a couple of decades to clean, excavate, reconstruct and analyze the skeleton.
According to the chief scientist, Robert Blumenschine from the Paleontological Scientific Trust (PAST), which is an organization that sponsored the excavation, the findings are the sources of pleasure for Africans.
Blumenschine said that, “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.”
The Vice-Chancellor at the University of Witswatersrand, Adam Habib hailed entire construction of the full skeleton. Habib said that, “This is a landmark achievement for the global scientific community and South Africa’s heritage. It is through important discoveries like Little Foot that we obtain a glimpse into our past which helps us to better understand our common humanity.”