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Human fossil discovery -- evidence of new Homo species
Date:4/9/2010

from the University of Bern in Switzerland, they produced an identical age result confirming the sediment was close to 2 million years old.

"Together with palaeomagnetic dating of the sediments more closely surrounding the fossils by Andy Herries of UNSW and our team of colleagues led by Professor Paul Dirks from the University of Townsville, we were collectively able to provide an age of 1.95-1.78 million years for the fossils," Dr Pickering says.

"This is the first time, in relation to these renowned caves in South Africa, that we have been able to achieve such high-quality age control."

"Knowing how old these early human (hominin) fossils are, is critical to our knowledge of where this newly found species fits into our family tree," she says.

Associate Professor Jon Woodhead, who heads the Isotope Geosciences laboratory in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne, noted "This is a highly significant find and I congratulate Robyn and her colleagues on their discovery."

"Only very recently have we been able to develop the technologies required to allow precise dating of cave sediments such as those found in intimate association with these new fossils."

"This really is the beginning of a 'new era' as such methods have much to contribute to studies of global climate change, biodiversity and, in this case, human evolution."

"The University of Melbourne is a world leader in this area and we are proud to have been able to contribute to this important discovery."


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Contact: Rebecca Scott
rebeccas@unimelb.edu.au
61-383-440-181
University of Melbourne
Source:Eurekalert

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