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Top Story

3.3 million-year-old fossil reveals origins of the human spine

Analysis of a 3.3 million-year-old fossil skeleton reveals the most complete spinal column of any early human relative, including vertebrae, neck and rib cage. The findings indicate that portions of the human spinal structure that enable efficient walking motions were established millions of years earlier than previously thought. The fossil, known as “Selam,” is a nearly complete skeleton of a 2-and-a-half-year-old child discovered in Dikika, Ethiopia, in 2000. Selam, which means “peace” in the Ethiopian Amharic language, was an early human relative from the species Australopithecus afarensis--the same species as the famous Lucy skeleton.

Visit Website | Image credit: Zeray Alemseged, University of Chicago