An Arizona State University student’s discovery of a fossilized jawbone in Ethiopia could drastically alter our understanding of human ancestry. The partial jawbone is 400,000 years older than any previously discovered fossils of the genus Homo. Chalachew Seyoum, a graduate student who is from Ethiopia, found the fossil in 2013.
The discovery could add a half million years to the known calendar of the genus Homo. Older fossils have been found, but none identified as genus Homo. Science Magazine published the article detailing the discovery and its implication. The abstract begins: “Our understanding of the origin of the genus Homo has been hampered by a limited fossil record…Here we report the discovery of a partial hominin mandible with teeth…that establishes the presence of Homo at 2.80-2.75 Ma.”