Research scientists have discovered the oldest human fossil in the form of a jawbone. The discovery was made in Ethiopia and scientists have said the fossil belongs to the Homo evolutionary tree. The jawbone fossil dates back 2.8 million years.
The left jawbone fragment provides a rare glimpse into what the early man looked like. The fossil is also close to the more primitive ape ancestor that scientist call Lucy. With the discovery of the jawbone, the oldest Homo fossil has been pushed back by nearly 400,000 years.
The now oldest Homo fossil was found at a site in Ethiopia not far from where scientists had made the discovery of Lucy. An Ethiopian graduate student at Arizona State discovered the jawbone fossil. Chalachew Seyoum said he bumped on the fossil one morning after he noticed a teeth protruding from the ground while on a research mission. The jawbone was discovered two years ago, and scientists have been studying it for all that time.
Many evolution researchers are working in Africa, the hotbed of ancient human fossils, to gain more insight into the early man. Scientists from Arizona State University are among those coping Africa for the details of the early man that are currently dimly understood.
The jawbone fragment discovered in Ethiopian features five teeth. The discovery of the jawbone fossil was described in the journal known as Science.
According to evolution experts, Homo sapiens, the modern man, is the only surviving group of the Homo group. Although the 2.8-million-year-old jawbone fossil fills a gap in the understanding of human evolution, scientists are still left with many questions. For example, it is not clearly whether the jawbone fossil belongs to an early species already known or a completely new species. Efforts are on to look for more fossils at the site where the oldest jawbone was found.
Despite the complexity of dealing with the jawbone, outside researchers, those not involved in the oldest jawbone research, have noted that putting the fossil in the Homo category is a convincing case.